5 African Tribes with Traditional African Cultures

When comparing and contrasting various African cultures and tribal fashions, many interesting facts can be distinguished and a lot can be learnt about African history. Here we discuss 5 different African traditional tribes and the influences they have had, as well as their origins.

1. Shona Tribe of Zimbabwe

The Shona tribe is Zimbabwe's largest indigenous group whose tribal traditional language is also called Shona (Bantu). Their population is around 9 million, and the tribal impact that they've had has been huge. They are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe and are extremely traditional.

As well as being found in Zimbabwe, the traditional Shona tribe are also found in Botswana and southern Mozambique. Representing over 80% of the population, the Shona tribe is culturally the most dominant and traditional tribe in Zimbabwe.

One of the key traditional features of Shona people is living in isolated settlements, usually consisting of one or more elder men and their extended families.

The Shona are a cluster of traditional and tribal people who have lived for about 2,000 years in a region of the southern Africa Plateau that includes most of Zimbabwe and part of Mozambique.

Shona is the traditional and tribal name collectively given to two groups of Bantu people in the east and southeast of Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique.

2. Himba of Northwest Namibia

The desolate Kunene region of northwest Namibia is home to a resilient traditional and tribal people called the Himba. Traditional and tribal hunter-gatherers and pastoralists, the Himba descend from the southward migrating Herero of Angola.

Life for the traditional and tribal Himba revolves around the holy fire called OkuruwoOkuruwo, via the smoke,  symbolizes a traditional and tribal connection with their ancestors, who are in direct communication with their God Mukuru. The traditional and tribal fire burns at the centre of the village and is never allowed to go out and each family has a fire-keeper whose job it is to tend the sacred blaze.

The traditional and tribal Himba are a nomadic African tribe and traditionally travel from waterhole to waterhole tending their cattle and goats. Traditional and tribal day to day tasks building homes and handling politics.

 3. The Zulu Of South Africa

The Zulu people are the largest tribal and traditional ethnic group in South Africa. The traditional and tribal Zulu descended from East African origins and over centuries, migrated south during what is a called the great Bantu migration. The Zulu rose into a formidable traditional and tribal empire under the leadership of Shaka in the early 19th century. Under his leadership, the traditional and tribal Zulu kingdom expanded and played an important role in the history of South Africa. Over time, the traditional and tribal Zulu developed a fearsome reputation that is still evident today.

The traditional and tribal Zulus of today are modern and progressive. While traditional clothing is reserved for special occasions, the traditional and tribal Zulu retain strong connections with their ancestral and historical roots. As a people, the traditional and tribal Zulu are said to be warm-hearted and hospitable and it is to them that we owe the concept of UbuntuUbuntu states that we are people, not because of our individuality, but by virtue of our connections to other people, thus underlying the importance of relationships.

The traditional and tribal Zulu, while predominantly Christian, have retained the belief in their supreme being, Unkulunkulu, who is the creator of all life. While Unkulunkulu is remote and detached, all fortune, misfortune, good or bad luck is attributed to traditional and tribal ancestral spirits or amadlozi. Simply put, the traditional and tribal ancestral spirits are the spirits of the dead, specifically, of people who were respected and successful in life. By giving sacrifices to the ancestral spirits, the traditional and tribal Zulu people seek to influence their lives on a day to day basis and all marriages or births are marked by sacrificial offerings.

4. The Bushman, San or Khoisan, Of Southern Africa

Known as the first traditional and tribal people of South Africa, the Khoisan are renowned for their close connection to nature, their nomadic lifestyle and their language that comprises of clicking sounds. Sadly, they are also synonymous with the plight of minorities in traditional and tribal Southern Africa and have been variously hunted, exploited and pushed off their land. Today, the survival of the traditional and tribal San and their way of life hangs precariously in the balance.

Traditionally, the San people were tribal hunter-gatherers who lived off the land, roaming vast tracts of bushveld all over southern Africa. For various reasons including mining, farming and the creation of national parks, the traditional and tribal Bushmen have been forced into ever smaller ranges. Today, the traditional and tribal San are restricted to small clusters around the Makgadikgadi Pan.

The traditional and tribal Bushmen were the great artists of southern Africa and their charming rock art – dating back thousands of years – can be found in caves and rock overhangs all over the country. The traditional and tribal San used pigments made from mineral deposits, ochres, blood and egg to fashion delightful imagery of humans and animals.

 5. The Samburu of Northern Kenya

The traditional and tribal Samburu tribe have a population of 160,000 from north-central Kenya and are pastoralists from the great plains of the Samburu region. They are closely related to the traditional and tribal Maasai people of Kenya and are said to have migrated south from the Nile region of North Africa. The traditional and tribal Samburu people speak a dialect of the Maa language which they share with the Maasai. The traditional and tribal Samburu are however considered to be even more remote as the region that they inhabit is dry and arid and so can support less life.

Pastoralists, the traditional and tribal Samburu raise primarily cattle but also keep other livestock like goats, sheep and even camels. Because of the arid environment that they inhabit, this tribe is traditionally nomadic. Constantly in search of pastures for their cattle, much of the conflict in their ever-shrinking traditional and tribal range is caused by the search for land. The traditional and tribal Samburu diet, like the Maasai, consists of milk and animal blood, while eating is reserved for special occasions.

The traditional and tribal Samburu are renowned for their colourful clothing and their unique social structure. The traditional and tribal men wear pink or black cloth in a manner similar to the Scottish kilt and adorn themselves with bracelets, anklets and necklaces. The traditional and tribal warrior age-group or Moran, are known to wear their hair in long braids. The traditional and tribal women, on the other hand, keep their heads shaven and wear two cloths, one around the waist and the other around their chests. The traditional and tribal cloth is usually blue or purple and the women adorn themselves further by applying ochre to their bodies in a fashion similar to the Himba of Namibia.


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