The Hadzabe

Hadzabe

The Hadzabe are the last hunter and gatherer people of Tanzania. The ethical minority of about 800 tribesmen lives in an area of 1500 square kilometers around Lake Eyasi, an extremely dry region with little fertility. In this area difficult to reach, the old stone-aged way of life of the Hazabe has been largely preserved. The Hadzabe neither farm nor do they keep stock. Instead, they use whatever nature provides, they collect berries, roots, corms and honey and hunt animals with bow and arrow. All of the daily necessities like bows, arrows, furniture and building materials are only made from what nature supplies.

 

The Hadzabe live in different sized groups of up to fifty adults and their children. All members of the group are equals. There is no hierarchy, no leader or chieftain, but men and women have different tasks to fulfill. While the men mostly hunt for animals, such as gazelles, antelopes, guinea fowl and buffaloes, the women collect berries and the fruits of the baobab or dig for roots and crums. The women are further responsible for building the grass huts. The men occasionally trade with their neighbours.

Until today, the Hadzabe have consciously and consistly been refusing to adopt the so-called civilization. However, it is only a matter of time until they are forced to give up their traditional way of life in order to survive. The local wildlife, which is the foundation of the Hadzebe’s survival, is vanishing due to the immigration of other tribes into the Eyasi area – nomads with cattleherds and farmers. In addition, the local government has imposed a hunting ban for the Hadzabe.

Experts agree that - if none of these factors be changed - these last bushmen and women will end up landless day labourers, beggars and prostitutes.

 

During a photography trip to Lake Eyasi we also visited these bushmen. Their way of life made a lasting impression and it was then decided that fairtrade media invest part of its returns into a school project, which in the form of scholarships would enable children of the Hadzabe to attend a secondary school. A scholarship is designed to last three years and guarantees the respective child to finish his or her school education without depending on further financial support.

 

Read more about the scholarships