Book ID 473
Rainsford, Richard What chance, the survival prospects for East Afica's last hunting and gathering tribe the Hadzabe, in a gameless environment?, 1997
Extract Date: 1997 March
FPCN = Friends of Peoples Close to Nature
From 17th March until the 7th of April 1997, Richard Rainsford and Jane Lang, both of FPCN England and Hartmut Heller from FDN Germany, visited their friends the Hadzabe, around lake Eyasi, in northern Tanzania. Our trip began from Arusha and headed north west via Karatu from, where we left the road that circumnavigates the Ngorongoro crater national park and headed south west to Mongola.
At the southern end of Mongola were the first Hadzabe community we stayed with. In this place the traditional lifestyle of the Hadzabe can no longer continue due to the proximity of the neighbouring settlement. The main reason for their needing to be in this place is the fact that the Matete (Chem Chem) spring located 2 km to the south is the only source of spring water coming from the crater from 20 sq. kilometres. Not to long ago the area was traditionally a watering hole used by the Hadzabe. But now with the assistance of white expatriate settlers and the establishment of the newly formed village councils, the Hadzabe are not even allowed to go to the watering hole, unless FPCN representatives are present. We gave them three 20k-bags of maize over our visit and refused to pay the requested 2000 TSh for camping at the green site in sympathy for our friends.
The warden called over the chairman of the village council, Julius Meruss (Barabaig ), chair of the Qangndend village council, PO Box 255, Karatu, Tanzania. During the discussion it was learnt that the Hadzabe were allowed to go to the waterhole when the village council and warden had arranged a party of tourists to watch them sing and perform. It was quoted that while a 20 strong tourist group were paying 300,000 TSh to the council, for filming, only 10,000 TSh would be paid to the total 500 Hadzabe community. Julius Meruss told us that the village has a 25 counsellor committee with not one Hadzabe. When asked about this, Gudo Mahiya, a respected Hadza spokes person said "we are not interested in changing our culture to conform to the policy of the aggressors". He added "that even in Arusha there were some 250 counsellors, but still the Hadzabe have no representation, or wish to have". He does though want to go to Arusha to protest about the council here". "He went on to say they are charging the tourists while not giving the Hadzabe any of this income or allowing them access to the water". When asked about farming and cattle he said "we do not want cattle, just wild animals to hunt and water that we can drink".
FPCN International asks "Is it right that a people should be driven into extinction just for not wanting to change and adopt the western mentality of profit and greed driven motives". Needless to say we continued refusing to pay the campsite fee for visiting and giving humanitarian aid to our friends. Even after Police were called by the 'campsites' (Barabaig ) warden, Momoya Muhidoti of PO Box 120 , Karatu, Tanzania the police couldn't believe why they had been called and laughed about it at the end with us. Two other officials that were in attendance were Alfred Ligubi, District Commissioner of Karatu district, PO Box 5 Karatu, (Tel. 32) and Fready B. Meope, Assistant Officer Commanding, Karatu Police Station, PO Box 155, Karatu (Tel 9). Alfred said "he had no problem with what we were doing only that next time this could be prevented by writing to his office in advance and he would issue us with a letter that explained to all concerned the purpose of our visit". It was agreed that on the next visit this would be done in advance. The protest was felt and noticed and FPCN International advises any visitors to the Matete spring to do likewise, until such time as the Hadzabe are allowed full access to the water as are the dozens of cattle that are brought to the spring each day.
"One to thirty, was the ratio of game over cattle" a figured quoted by one of the occupying expatriate settlers, Ms Jeannette Hanby (Mama Simba) who lives with David Bygott in abstract denial over the rights of the Hadzabe. They can be written to at S.L.P. 161, Karatu, Tanzania. The ecologists Bygott and Hanby live on sacred Hadza ground but they deny that the Hadza have ever inhabited the area around the only spring fro 20k. Something that only a visit to the area will clearly show is a statement if denial.
There are three situations that FPCN International was asked by this community to communicate and present to the international community:-
CASE 1 Enslaved Prostitution
Through the middlemen, European priests and "sisters". Sabina's sister Mele Abande and Salibogo's daughter along with many others have been tricked into prostitution by being taken to Arusha with the promise of work. Only to find themselves enslaved in prostitution. FPCN proposes to act on the wishes of the Hadzabe and bring all held Hadzabe woman back to their homeland.
CASE 2 Enforced Schooling.
There have been times when the military has searched for Hadzabe children hiding in the bush to escape the duty of being schooled. Hadzabe girls often complain about being raped by the teachers in Endamaga school. This happens even with Hadzabe mothers. Later the Hadza girls are compelled into prostitution. FPCN has previously been successful taking back some of these unlucky girls to their bush homestead and families. But if caught again these school escapees have to fear severe corporal punishment. This kind of discipline is very common in these schools. When asked, all but maybe a handful of the brainwashed Hadzabe say that this schooling has a negative effect on them and they say is of no benefit to them. Some Hadzabe have even been taken to colleges in Dar es Salaam. Currently they are all without jobs and are now even more frustrated and irritated. They now also behave as being uprooted from their own society. One really must, when considering this difficult issue, try and not see it from our western educated stand point. For these people that are not even on the bottom rung of the surrounding social hierarchy, what use is learning English or reading Swahili or even mono agriculture for that matter. Quite clearly the only benefactors, would be there greatest emery, the manufactured and western propped up government of Tanzania and the countries they export to, on condition of aid.
CASE 3 Bad Religion.
Many times white parsons tried to baptise the Hadzabe and to destroy their admirable traditional beliefs and lifestyle. FPCN tells the Hadzabe that these missionaries are just business men who often have accumulated quite some wealth from their job. The hatred against these strangers grows among the Hadzabe. FPCN stands ready to sanction and assist with the burning out of churches on Hadzaland in following, with the similar successful explosion that occurred at Sanola.
After two days with them there it was decided to go down the eastern side of the dried out Lake Eyasi, to attempt, a trip around the lake in a clockwise direction. The intention being to visit the Hadzabe communities on the west side. Approximately 40k down the eastern side we stopped to visit and give food to what appeared to be the least well off community so far. This clan at Kambia ya Simba had the unenviable disposition of sharing a green and stagnant waterhole, some three hours walk, with the surrounding Barabaig ,s cattle. Even one of our party, a neutral journalist from Norway, Arild Andersen, found himself infested with worms after drinking from the source. It was clear to us all that most of the Hadza children had permanently to endure the same affliction. Whilst there were several hunting trips were made to ascertain the level of available game, that these people largely depended on. The only recorded sighting in their region was a couple of dik dik (Small dog sized mammals) to feed a population of around 200. The result was is these people are solely dependent on the gathering of the three types of berries they are lucky enough to have around them.
After two attempts to go south around lake Eyasi and being forced back by rain it was decided that a visit to important camps around Sanola. On first impressions Sanola didn't appear to be as welcoming as the previous camps. That was explained later due to the work of anti-traditionalist's like Bruce, a CUSO field worker, that had just the week before with Shanny the district game warden from Embola, been hunting in the area. We were also told that Momoya Muhidoti, the "camp site warden" at Chem Chem, from Mongola had also recently been with Arab's and Germans illegally hunting in the area. Proof of this was in the signed visitors book. It is also know by the inhabitants of Sanola that Bruce is responsible for the killing of the last Rhino in this area. A nice achievement for an aid worker! During his visit, the week before, Bruce had discussed with the Hadzabe how they had stopped all white trophy hunting in the area. FPCN says that is quite an accomplishment when you take into account that there really isn't any game left to hunt.
Sanola now, once rich in wild life, game and fresh water now has none. The displaced Barabaig herders with the expanding livestock numbers have completely taken over the water resource. The river a bit like lake Eyasi is in the main dried out, during the dry season. The Barabaig have erected small dams and water traps for their livestock, creating the same polluted water, not fit of human consumption, found at Nut//ko. FPCN finds this quite intolerable because it is not even a short term solution. FPCN asked and explained to the Barabaig that this can not continue. It is feared though that more than requests will be needed to persuade them to use only some of the available water holes. Methods of persuasion will be discussed, agreed upon and action taken.
FPCN says "We were all so alarmed to discover that these small communities had become so dispossessed by the ever increasing encroachment of the Barabaig settlers and cattle, onto their homeland. But the Barabaig are not the only intruders, the Maasai were also bringing more and more cattle into the region as a result of their expulsion from the Ngorongoro crater, to make way for a dollar earning national park".
The overall effect has been so devastating that the game the Hadzabe were dependant on have all but been decimated or moved off. Add to this the adverse effects on the few water holes, infected with amoebas by the cattle and you are left with a population worm infested and dependant on berries for their moisture and nourishment. The net effects were clear in the blown up stomachs and infections suffered by the children.
Is it therefore the underlying policy of the Tanzania government to only allow wild animals to be kept inside the national parks ? Rather than they feeding her people, she can profit from the tourist dollar. In the meantime, if your not contributing in some way to the countries economy, producing something for export, you deserve nothing more than, the right, to die in silence. Tanzania this is the impression you have left me with. I do hope that I am wrong.
In conclusion; it is the opinion of FPCN International that the biggest single detrimental affect that is dispossessing the Hadzabe of their livelihoods and homelands is the western worlds model of nation building, with its universally adopted legal system. Readers are asked to contribute to FPCN's petition to the Tanzania government. Hopefully then they will begin to see the value they have in their cultural heritage, before it is to late.
FPCN asks all interested groups and individuals to write to all mentioned in this report and ask them how their conscience is and whether they are interested in the survival of this culture and community.
Written by Richard Rainsford FPCN England.