Tribes of Africa: Hadza
Hadza are an indigenous people of North Tanzania. Their number is approximately one thousand persons. They inhabit Singida and Shinyanga regions near Lake Eyasi. Hadza speak an isolated Hadza language.
European science discovered Hadza in 1931 thanks to German ethnologist and archaeologist Ludwig Kohl-Larsen. Studies of this ethnic group were mostly conducted until the second half of nineteen-sixties, i.e. before radical changes in their way of life. They created a general idea about their traditional life style. Further studies by scientists from different countries at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries extended knowledge of this people and served as a major contribution into developing ideas about primitive communities.
The origins of Hadza are not quite clear. Anthropologically they belong to smaller negroid race with a few capoid features and therefore they were traditionally viewed as the remains of Khoisan peoples in East Africa. But recent genetic research proved that they are, in fact, more related to pigmies of West Africa.
Hadza are hunters and gatherers. Hunting is exclusively male occupation. They hunt single or in small groups, occasionally as many as fifteen men when hunting hippopotamus. Hunting weapons are bow and arrow and spear. Arrowheads and spearheads are mostly made of stone and sometimes hammered out of bartered iron. Bow and arrow were mostly used in hinting buffalo and wildebeest, arrows were often poisoned. The peak of hunting is dry season.
Gathering is both male and female occupation, especially at times when hunting is unproductive. Hadza gather fruits of wild plants, bird and turtle eggs. Gathered produce provides up to eighty per cent of Hadza diet.
Hadza dwellings for most part of the year are grass huts built on frames made of branches. Huts huddle together in a naturally protected area. During rainy season some people move to shelters under rocks. They have no stationary dwelling sites.
Hadza families form small groups and move from place to place together. They usually change their dwelling place once a fortnight. The composition of such groups is not constant, their members come together and separate at their will. The territories occupied by communities or «residential groups» have no definite borders. In fact, any Hadza can live, hunt or gather food wherever he or she wants. In dry season Hadza form groups of 100 to 200 persons, and in rainy season they prefer to live in separate communities.
Groups and communities of Hadza have no chiefs, although some people are more influential due to their personal qualities. Decisions concerning the whole community are taken by men.
In the first half of the twentieth century Hadza inhabited dry prairies and savannas in the plains and foothills north-east of Lake Eyasi. But extermination of tsetse fly in Hadza territories opened them up for neighbours — cattle-breeders and farmers. Today Hadza population is decreasing. Issansu, Mbulu and Maasai pressure them out to the marshes and wastelands south of Lake Eyasi. Hadza themselves say that they have lost three quarters of their lands within the last few decades. Some Hadza have given up nomadic lifestyle and help landowners cultivate their fields. Hadza try to defend their rights appealing to the government of Tanzania to protect their indigenous territories from encroachments by neighbouring peoples.
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