Hadza people

The Hadza, or Hadzabe, are an ethnic group in north-central Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau.

The Hadza number just under 1,000. Some 300–400 Hadza live as hunter-gatherers, much as their ancestors have for thousands or even tens of thousands of years; they are the last full-time hunter-gatherers in Africa. The Hadza are not closely genetically related to any other people. While traditionally classified with the Khoisan languages, primarily because it has clicks, the Hadza language appears to be an isolate, unrelated to any other. The descendants of Tanzania's aboriginal hunter-gatherer population, they have probably occupied their current territory for several thousand years, with relatively little modification to their basic way of life until the past hundred years.

When searching for game and fruits the Hadza will in the first place use their experience from previous trips and marks in the field (footprints, droppings). But if memories and marks in the field do not help, they go on the same efficient move through the field as sharks and bees looking for food: the so-called Lévy-walk. This means that they move with a series of short runs, in different directions, interspersed with sparse longer walks in one direction to change the search location. This search is well suited for a changing environment such as the savannah, where positions of prey are changing rapidly.

From the 18th century onwards, the Hadza came into increasing contact with farming and herding people entering Hadzaland and its vicinity from elsewhere; their interaction with these peoples were often hostile and caused a period of population decline in the late 19th century. In the late 19th century the Hadza came into contact with Europeans, who produced the first written accounts of them. Since then there have been numerous attempts by successive colonial administrations, the independent Tanzanian government, and foreign missionaries to settle the Hadza, by introducing farming and Christianity. These have largely failed, and many Hadza still pursue virtually the same way of life as their ancestors are described as having in early 20th century accounts. In recent years they have been under pressure from neighbouring groups encroaching on their land.