The Hadza are a modern hunter-gatherer people living in northern Tanzania. They are considered one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa with approximately 1,300 tribe members. Their native homeland includes the Eyasi Valley and nearby hills. The Hadza remain an important study focus for anthropologists, as they represent a modern link to ways of human existence and survival largely abandoned by most of humanity.

As a hunter-gatherer society, the Hadza have no domesticated livestock, nor do they grow or store their own food. The Hadza survive by hunting their food with hand-made bows and arrows and foraging for edible plants. The Hadza diet is primarily plant-based but also consists of meat, fat, and honey. They create temporary shelters of dried grass and branches, and they own few possessions.

The Hadza speak a unique language known as Hadzane, which incorporates clicking and popping sounds as well as more familiar sounds. According to their own history, which they preserve through oral tradition, the Hadza have lived in their current environment bordering the Serengeti plains since their first days as a unique group. This is relatively close to the spot where Homo habilis, one of the earliest hominids, lived 1.9 million years ago. Genetically, the Hadza show one of the oldest lineages of contemporary humans.

Contemporary settlements and farming practices currently threaten the lifestyle of the Hadza. They have lost between 75 percent and 90 percent of their land over the past 50 years.

 

Hadza

In the Yaeda Valley of Tanzania, women and children set out to collect tubers, a staple food of the Hadza people.

abandoned
Adjective

deserted.

anthropologist
Noun

person who studies cultures and characteristics of communities and civilizations.

contemporary
Adjective

having to do with the present time period.

Noun

foods eaten by a specific group of people or other organisms.

domesticate
Verb

to tame or adapt for human use.

edible
Adjective

able to be eaten and digested.

forage
Verb

to search for food or other needs.

genetic
Adjective

having to do with genes, inherited characteristics or heredity.

homeland
Noun

a person's native country or region.

Homo habilis
Noun

(2.5-1.5 million years ago) species of primates (hominid) whose fossils and stone tools have been found in Africa.

humanity
Noun

condition of being human, including the study of art, literature, philosophy, and the sciences.

hunter-gatherer
Noun

person who gets food by using a combination of hunting, fishing, and foraging.

incorporate
Verb

to blend or bring together.

language
Noun

set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

lifestyle
Noun

way of living, including cultural, economic, and social habits.

livestock
noun, plural noun

animals raised for sale and profit.

Noun

flat, smooth area at a low elevation.

possession
Noun

something that is owned.

settlement
Noun

community or village.

society
Noun

large community, linked through similarities or relationships.

survival
Noun

ability to live.

temporary
Adjective

not lasting or permanent.

threaten
Verb

to scare or be a source of danger.

tribe
Noun

community made of one or several family groups sharing a common culture.

unique
Adjective

one of a kind.

valley
Noun

depression in the Earth between hills.