Africa is home to an abundance of magnificent tribes that are rich in culture, ethnicity, and brimming with history. African tribes have individual senses of traditions and customs, which make every tribe unlike another.
Africa has seen a great deal of progression in the former two millennia, however, the influence African tribes possess is insurmountable. Being the effigy of strength, true character, and courage, African tribes still stand as tall as ever.
A look at the most popular African tribes
Compiled below is a list of the most famous as well as intriguing tribes from Africa.
The natives of Zulu coin themselves to be “the people of the heavens,” and rightly so. People of this tribe wear casual outfits; the Zulu in comparison to other tribes have a modern outlook and lifestyle. During special occasions, however, Zulu embrace cultural attire and put on clothes representing tradition. One of the most famous in Africa, Zulu, is a South African tribe encompassing more than 10 million people just in the place of KwaZulu-Natal. The language spoken by the Zulu is known as “IsiZulu;” this tribe transformed into a great kingdom during the turn of the 19th century. A notable concept of the Zulu called “Ubuntu,” which means unity and togetherness, originates here. This philosophy of union and staying strong is what makes Zulu stand apart and be top on our list.
The second popular on the list is the Maasai, a tribe still known to follow tradition and culture and keep it close to home. The Maasai reside in Kraals that form a circle and people from this tribe are from the countries of Tanzania and Kenya. Income earned by the Maasai originates from livestock, and a few of these animals include goats, cattle, and sheep. In this economy, livestock trade is a common activity. This leads us to our next tribe, the San Bushmen of Southern Africa.
Third on the list is the tribe of San Bushmen. Living in South Africa, approximately 100,000 San Bushmen reside in the areas of Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. Notable to mention is the “Central Kalahari Game Reserve” which was made to protect traditional territory. It was during the 80’s that a discovery of diamonds occurred, which led to the government forcing many Bushmen to leave their homes. Moreover, many homes had gotten dismantled, supplies of water were destroyed and health clinics were removed.
The Yoruba reside in Southwestern Nigeria and Benin. Fourth on our list, Yoruba must be a special part of this beautiful legacy created by the popular African tribes for a number of reasons. For one, it is the largest in Africa in terms of ethnicity with a total of 35 million natives. Instead of being one individual group, the Yoruba are an amalgamation of various people who share a common language, culture, and overall history. Next up on our top ten list is the Xhosa.
The Xhosa reside in Western and Eastern part of Cape, South Africa; a minimal portion of the Xhosa live in Zimbabwe. The official language spoken by the Xhosa is known as IsiXhosa, also recognized to be a national language. The Xhosa have been divided into other tribes, some of which are the ImiDushane, AmaGcaleka, and AmaNdlambe. Though the tribe may be divided, they stem from the same heritage, which makes the people of the Xhosa so distinct, and a reason for being on our list of the most prolific African tribes of all time.
The Hausa in Nigeria total a staggering 30,817,000 in which 0.10% of the Hausa population follow Christian faith and 99.9% follow the Islam walk of life. The greatest, or moreover largest of ethnic groups in West Africa, the Hausa are known to have been in the trading business for centuries now. Many Hausa communities can be found in places like Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The Middle East was a prominent trading industry with the Hausa and items like leather, food, and crafts were traded for gold.
A hidden gem of Namibia, Himba is rooted in deep tradition as it continues to steer clear of modernization in an age where “Western” ideals are gaining popularity. Many of the Himba are settled in an area known as Kaokoland; with a population just less than 50,000, the Himba are famous and thus a part of the list. Many of the Himba embrace and have held onto their culture through their appearances. Whether hair, clothing, or jewelry, the Himba display their elegant style and ornate designs as they would in the past.
The people of Oromo are of Islamic and Christian faith and eat dishes such as Kashii, Mooqa, and Basso. There are about 25 million individuals who make up the tribe of Oromo. The Oromo speak a language known as “Cushitic” and inhabited regions like north-eastern as well as Eastern Africa. Currently the regions of Cush, ancient Ethiopia, and Nubia are where Cushitic speakers reside. The Oromo history tells us that the Oromo were originally known as “Galla” but instead of using Galla, they adopted Oromo since they disliked the name Galla. It is said the name Galla was given by neighboring individuals from the Amhara and may have originated from an Arabic term “qaala laa.” The Oromo consist of several clans; two clans of Oromo are qumoo and gosa.
Ninth on the list is the Kalenjin. The Kalenjin come from Kenya and are known to be physically fit and strong. The most famous runners have been Kalenjin and have had notable accomplishments both nationally, and internationally. During the later years, this tribe became known as a conqueror.
The Chagga are from Tanzania and are attributed as being the first tribe to accept Christianity. This embrace of Christianity occurred during Colonial Times. The Chagga ultimately were the recipients of healthcare that was of a more enhanced nature as well as better education for children.
Final say on African tribesWow, what a journey that was, wouldn't you agree? With modern-day life encompassing every second of our time, it's hard but necessary to take a second back and reflect on the tribal way of life. Not too long ago our ancestors were all living in tribes, and we didn't have these skyscrapers around. Were we better off than or are we better off now, what do you think? Resources