Tribes of Africa
The Yako Tribe
Yakö, also spelled Yako or Yakurr, people of the Cross River region of eastern Nigeria; they speak Luko, a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family.
The Yakö are mainly yam farmers; subsidiary crops include cocoyams (taro), corn (maize), okra, and pumpkin. The main cash crop is palm oil. The Yakö occupy compact villages divided into wards, each containing several patrilineal clans. Patrilineal descent governs rights to farmland, house sites, and cooperative labour. Men of the same patrilineal clan live together and cooperate in farming activities. The head of the clan arbitrates disputes, performs clan rituals, and represents the clan in external relations. The Yakö also recognize matrilineal descent, which governs the inheritance of transferable wealth, such as livestock and currency.
The Sukuma Tribe
Tanzania’s largest tribal group is the Sukuma, a Bantu group of around 5.5 million people that lives in the north of the country and around the southern shores of Lake Victoria. The name “Sukuma” actually means “north” and is used in reference to the “people of the north”. While the majority live in rural areas, some also inhabit cities, particularly Mwanza and Shinyanga where they’ve adapted to modern life.
Traditionally, the Sukuma worshipped the spirits of their ancestors, believing that they contribute to the health of living family members, however, many now practice Christianity. They’re a predominantly matriarchal society, although polygamy is still a standard practice amongst many Sukuma.
The Mbembe Tribe
Mbembe, is a group of people living along the middle Cross River in Nigeria. Numbering about 100,000 in the late 20th century, they speak the language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family.
The Mbembe cultivate yams, rice, cocoyams (taro), and cassava. In modern times wage laborers generally clear the fields and cultivate the yams. The land is either followed after one year or planted with cassava by women, who receive the profits from its sale. Compact settlements of wattle-and-daub houses with a mat or thatched roofs range in size from 100 to 3,000 inhabitants.
The Mbembe trace descent through both matrilineal and patrilineal lines. Movable property (such as yams, money, and clothing) is inherited matrilineally. The matrilineage is collectively responsible for its members in jural matters. Rights to land and houses are inherited patrilineally, and lineage members usually live together. Age sets cutting across kinship ties are formed in each village. Of village associations that function as agents of social control, the okwa, the most powerful, has certain authority over women and authority to issue orders in such matters as public works. Members of the okwa also select the village chief.
The Iraqw Tribe
The Iraqw are a Cushitic-speaking (a branch of the Afroasiatic language family) tribal group that live in the Arusha and Manyara regions of Tanzania, just south of the famous Ngorongoro Crater. There are around 350,000 believed to be living within the country and they are renowned for their sharply defined features. While many safaris often travel through Iraqw territory, they tend to be shy people who sell their cattle and crops only when it’s necessary.
Male Iraqw are famed for their blacksmithing while many of the women are skilled at pottery. They’re thought to be the descendants of the Neolithic Afro-Asiatic people who first introduced domesticated plants and animals to the Great Lakes Region. The Iraqw people speak the Iraqw language, which isn’t endangered but is becoming less widely spoken and written due to the increasing importance of Swahili as the main language in Tanzania.
The Ndebele Tribe
Ndebele, also called Transvaal Ndebele, any of several Bantu-speaking African peoples who live primarily in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in South Africa. The Ndebele are ancient offshoots of the main Nguni-speaking peoples and began migrations to the Transvaal region in the 17th century.
The main group of Transvaal Ndebele traces its ancestry to Musi, or Msi, who, with his followers, diverged from a small group of Nguni people migrating down the southeastern coast of Africa and eventually settled in the Transvaal at the site of modern Pretoria. The descendants of Musi’s people were joined in the 18th and 19th centuries by Nguni people fleeing from the wars of Dingiswayo and Shaka in Natal. The Transvaal Ndebele survived the Zulu raids by hiding in the bush. As a result, however, they were geographically divided into separate groups.
The Hadzabe Tribe
The Hadzabe are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in the world, with just 1,200-1,300 believed to live in Tanzania today. Rather than keeping livestock and tending the land, they spend their days hunting and foraging for food, maintaining a simple diet that’s changed little throughout the centuries. They inhabit caves and establish simple dwellings around Lake Eyasi, just to the south of the Serengeti National Park, and they are the only people allowed to hunt inside the borders of the Serengeti.
The Damara Tribe
The Damara, also called Daman or Damaqua, are an ethnic group who make up 8.5% of Namibia's population. They speak the Khoekhoe language and the majority live in the northwestern regions of Namibia, however they are also found widely across the rest of the country. They have no known cultural relationship with any of the other tribes anywhere else in Africa and very little is known of their origin. It has been proposed that the Damara are a remnant population of south-western African hunter-gatherers, otherwise only represented by the Cimba, Kwisi and Kwadi, who adopted the Khoekhoe language of the immigrant Nama people.
The Himba Tribe
The first settlements of the Himba people can be traced back to the early 16th century when they crossed the Angolan border and chose Kaokoland (nowadays called Kunene region) as their new homeland. At that time, the word Himba did not exist because they had not yet separated themselves from the Herero tribe.
At the end of the 19th century, Namibia was plagued by a relentless bovine epidemic. Most of the cattle that the Herero depended on perished, and the tribe faced a great crisis. Subsequently, the tribe moved south and started to explore different regions to enhance their chances of survival. Still, some members decided to stay and rather struggle for survival in familiar territories. Then and there, the schism between the two tribes became a reality, and the Himba identity came into being.
The Gomara Tribe
The Ghomara are a group of tribes in northern Morocco, living between the rivers Oued Laou and Ouringa, east of Chefchaouen and south of Tetouan, in the Western Rif. The river Tiguisas runs through their territory.
Originally, Ghomaras was a Berber tribal group belonging to the Masmuda confederacy. While most have shifted to speaking Arabic, a minority continue to speak the Berber Ghomara language.
The Baganda Tribe
Baganda tribes are called as Kings Men because of the significant role of their king-the Kabaka in their political, social and cultural institution. The Kabaka ruled over a hierarchy of chiefs who collected taxes in the form of food and livestock. All of the portions received are distributed through the hierarchy, eventually reaching the Kabaka’s palace in the form of taxes.