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Hadzabe Tribe: The Hidden Foragers of Africa

The Hadzabe Tribe

We’ve talked about the Dahomey women warrior in one of our previous posts, today we want to share a community in East Africa that houses the last hunters or foragers of the Hadzabe tribe. 

The wonderful discovery of these people who have not let the 21st century and all its techy gadgets cut off so many of their practices and rites is fascinating. As of 2015, it was recorded that about 400 out of 1,300 Hadza people living in Tanzania still practice foraging.

The Hadzabe people are a small community of people existing in a valley in the outskirt of Tanzania, Africa. The Hadzabe people have been able to live centuries without agony, deprivation or bloodshed till date. According to their oral history, most have had ancestors who lived in that valley for over a millennium. Shocked? I am too. Like hunters, these monogamous groups of people have found a way of moving around in groups of 30. 

A young boy from the Hadzabe Tribe

A young boy from the Hadzabe Tribe. Image by Stefan Kleinowitz

The Rumored Evolution of the Hadzabe People

In searching for the origin of these people, we found 4 stages on how these people came into existence;

  • In the beginning, when hairy giants (Called Akakaanebee meaning ‘First Ones’) inhabited the world, they lacked cooking and construction knowledge. These hairy giants ate their meals like lions in the jungle; raw and unseasoned! They were believed to only pursue their prey by slamming into it. They did not construct rafts or huts, they simply slept in open skies. The theory is, they simply did not know-how.
  • These giants evolved into “Xhaaxhaanebee; in-between ones”. They had no hair but they could cook, use medicine and charms for protection. Soon they started to live in caves. 
  • The next set of evolved people were the “Hamakwanebee; recent days” these could use fire, store food, create weapons, and build huts. They became the modern foragers who now interacted with non-foragers.
  • The last evolved set which is very close to today’s Hazabe people is called “Hamayoshonebee; those of today”. 

The Myths of The Hadzabe Tribe

The myth you might have heard is true; they have none of the usual religion or religious leaders. The Hadzabe tribe believe in reading the stars, following the universe and all of the cosmological rules the universe provides them. These beliefs have been going on for as long as they’ve been around. Unlike most religions they do not have a place of worship, they believe anyone is a channel the universe can use. Though they do hold rituals their ways are very different from traditional religion.

A second myth is what they eat; Yes over 70% of their meals come from their hunts; which they do by using arrows shaped from nails then covered with poison from a desert rose and lastly, strong bows for their hunt. The men in the community hunt everything edible, even boys as young as 9 already know how to kill monkeys. Their women raise children and pick fruits or harvest some crops. It is believed to be a constantly evolving and harmonious community for they have lived in a well-organized state for centuries.

A young boy from the Hadzabe Tribe. Image by Stefan Kleinowitz

A young boy from the Hadzabe Tribe. Image by Stefan Kleinowitz

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