The well preserved tribes of Africa
Over the years due to modernization, most African ethnic groups have lost their original way of life. However there are still a few that have been well preserved and that have kept their cultures, customs and traditions.
This is a list of the ethnic groups that have been around for more than 10 000 years.
The Ovahimba/Himba people are the direct descendants of the Bantu tribes which migrated from central Congo. The first Himba settlements can be traced back to the 16th century when they migrated from Angola. There are about 50 000 Himba people living in Namibia and most of them live in the Kunene region of Namibia. The expansion of the population, the reduction of rural land as well as modernization threaten the cultural practices as well as the way of life.
They drink blood and jump high. These are the features that set the Masaai apart from any other tribe on earth. The name Masaai means “people who speak ma”. According to records they have been around for over 3000 years. The estimated population of the Masaai is around 1.6 million and they can be found in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania where they live near game parks and African Great Lakes.
Also known as Hadzabe is an ethnic group in north central Tanzania. They live around lake Eyasi, the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. Their current population is estimated to be around 1200 to 1300 of which 300 still survive on wild food. Their diet primarily consist of meat from baboons as well as roots, tubers and honey. The Hadza speak a language which has clicks and it classified as a Khoisan language however it is a very unique language with no links to any other language.
The San people are known as the original inhabitants of Southern Africa and the oldest tribe in Africa. Literature indicates that they have been living in Southern Africa for the past 20 000 years. Their population is very little and estimated to be around 90 000. They are currently reside in countries such as Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Southern Angola and Zimbabwe. They were great artists and this can be seen in their rock paintings. They are still hunters, healers, spiritualists and one with nature.
The African pygmies or Congo pygmies are scattered throughout Central Africa within the equatorial zone. They were given this name due to their short stature which results from a failure to undergo an adolescent growth spurt. They have been around for over a 100 000 years and their population is currently around 900 000.
Known as the original descendants of the pre-Arab populations, the Berbers are over 10 000 years old. They are distributed in North Africa, primarily countries like Algeria, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Northern Niger, Tunisia, Libya and part of western Egypt. The current population of Berbers is estimated to be around 36 million. They speak various Berber languages with Mahrebi Arabic dialects.