Name ID 739
Extract Author: Mohammed Isimbula
Page Number: 141
Extract Date: 2000 Oct 7
..They have been eating monkeys for 100 years
..They believe iron sheets cause blindness
Tired of their forest life, the Tindiga bushmen from the remotest parts of Mbulu and Karatu districts have decided to migrate from the forest and join civilization.
One of the Tindiga tribe elders, Jacob Ndakwena, confirmed that his tribe of 3,000 people will move from their bush residences in an official procession on the 15th of October.
According to Ndakwena, his people have been living in the forest for centuries, feeding on roots and animals but especially monkeys. He noted that the Tindiga people even used to scavenge rotten carcasses without qualms.
Ndakwena said that his people are backward when it comes to development because they believe that houses covered with iron sheets normally cause blindness, and that if they allow their children to attend schools built with iron sheets then those children will become blind.
Various government leaders and NGOs such as the World Vision have tried to persuade the Tindiga bushmen to join civilization without much success, until recently when the tribesmen themselves realized that they could actually be missing out on something.
The move to transform their lives was also made possible with help from the Mang'ola village chairman; Adam Chora whose village is in the Karatu district. Chora was successful in persuading the Tindiga bushmen to drop their savage life, because; having married a Tindiga woman, the bushmen regarded him as their clansman.
Meanwhile, the Mbulu District Commissioner (DC) Gabriel Songayi confirmed that the tribal elders have already contacted him and that he and the area Member of Parliament Phillip Marmo will be there to receive the bushmen's exodus procession.
'This is quite amazing really!' said DC Songayi. 'We have been trying to coax these people to leave their bush life for the past 10 years without any success, but we are glad that they decided to do it themselves.'
Some Tindiga bushmen however, have already tasted modern life, through clothes that they have been begged from visitors and those given to them by the area MP; Phillip Marmo.
Women however were never allowed to wear modern clothes, and prompted to stick to their animal skin outfits.
The Tindiga bushmen wash their bodies rarely before smearing them with monkey's bone marrow for moisturizing their skins.
But the bushmen exodus from the forest to their new life won't be without problems. Speaking to journalists recently, one their representatives revealed that Tindiga have one crucial ultimatum; they must be allowed to smoke marijuana (Bhang), as they are very much used to it, and treat it rather religiously.
However he defended the bushmen by pointing out that, Tindiga men hardly ever cause any problem.
Finke, Jens The Rough Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 445 (ed 1)
Extract Date: 2003
Occupying a shallow trough in the shadow of Ngorongoro's Mount Oldeani is Lake Eyasi, another of the Rift Valley's soda lakes. In the dry woodland around its edges live the Hadzabe tribe. Numbering between 500 and 2500, depending on how "purely" you count, the Hadzabe are Tanzania's last hunter-gatherers, a status they shared with the Sandawe further south until the latter were forced to settle forty years ago. Sadly, the Hadzabe appear to be heading the same way: much of their land has been taken by commercial plantations and ranches, which also form effective barriers to the seasonal wildlife migrations on which the hunting part of the Hadzabe lifestyle depends, whilst the unwelcome attentions of outsiders is rapidly destroying their culture.
Being absolutely destitute in monetary terms, the Hadzabe are in no position to resist the more pernicious elements of modernity, with its trade, evangelical missionaries, enforced schooling, the cash economy, AIDS and indeed tourists, the majority of whom consider the Hadzabe to be little more than primitive curiosities. The supposedly backward and primeval form of Hadzabe society has also attracted a welter of researchers, whose dubious activities range from the "discovery" that grandmothers are useful for feeding their grandchildren, to thinly veiled attempts by multinational pharmaceutical companies to patent their DNA.
In 2000, a news report stated that the Hadzabe were preparing to leave their land and way of life for the brave new world of Arusha. Though at that time the story turned out to be a hoax, sadly, within five to ten years, it may become a reality. Short of convincing the Tanzanian government to protect Hadzabe land and its wildlife routes (most unlikely given the government's previous attempts to forcibly "civilize" the Hadzabe), the best thing that you can do to help preserve their culture is to leave them well alone.
Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 09h
Three tribes have a particularly ancient history:
- the Iraqw in the Mbulu region with their distinctive physical features are the only tribe of Cushitic origin in the region as they grew totally isolated from their original Cushitic cluster. They inhabited the Engaruka fields and traces of occupation around Lake Natron, Manyara and Eyasi) go back to the Upper Paleolithic Period.
- the Sandawe and the Hadzapi or Tindiga: the first group lives in central Tanzania and stems from the ancient tribes who occupied the area with the Bushmen with whom they shared the Khoisan click language; nowadays they are fairly assimilated. The second group however is still organised in the simplest form of society based on hunting and subsisting mainly on roots and fruits and animal hunting with bows and arrows during the dry season. They are thought to be the only remnants in the whole of Africa of the ancient Paleolithic Times.
Grouped in clusters or divided into clans, tribes are not always easy to identify or to locate with definite accuracy and to those who search in vain for their presence on the map, I request their indulgence.