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ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

Hadza

Hadza

The Hadza are a hunter-gatherer people who live in northern Tanzania.

Grades

6 - 8

Subjects

Anthropology, Social Studies, World History

Image

Gathering Tubers

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

Photograph by Matthieu Paley

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.

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Director
Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Author
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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