Popular Ancient Tribes of Africa

Millions of years ago, a human civilization evolved out of Africa. Most native African tribes are direct offspring of some of the earliest modern human groups such as the Homo sapiens.

Typically, these tribes have distinctive genetic features and DNA markers as well as unique languages that are exactly linked to any others that are used today.

Despite the colonization of European countries in the region, most of the ancient tribes of Africa have managed to sustain their cultural traditions for thousands of years.

Himalaya Mountains

Interestingly enough, some of the tribes on this list still exist and are practicing their old traditions.

  • Zulu Tribe
  • Considered as the most popular tribe in Ancient Africa, Zulu was the birthplace of legendary African warrior and ruler Shaka Zulu.

    It is also believed to be the biggest ethnic group in South Africa with a population of approximately 11 million.

  • Hadza Tribe
  • The Hadza Tribe of Hazdabe is recognized as one of the oldest tribes of the modern world. According to historians, the ancestors of Hadza separated themselves from the ancient groups of early human history.

    Unlike any tribes, the Hadza Tribe does not keep livestock or grow crops since they don’t have permanent homes.

    For the last 10,000 years, the Hadza people have been relying on hunting to live and their traditions and lifestyle haven’t changed a bit. Hadza people used a click language to communicate with each other.

    At present, the Hadza people lives in the ancestral homeland in Tanzania, which is close to an archaeological location wherein the oldest fossil evidence of early humans were discovered.

    Oracle Bone Script

  • San Bushmen
  • Located in South Africa, the San tribe is dubbed as the world’s most ancient race. Unlike any other indigenous African group, the San tribe is believed to have the most unique and diverse DNA. This simply indicates that they are one of the original ancestral groups.

    There have been numerous studies which showed that the ancestors of San became isolated from other early groups approximately 100,000 years ago before re-entering the gene pool at a later era.

    In addition, there is also archaeological evidence which shows that the San people engaged in rituals at around 70,000 years ago.

Interesting Facts about the Ancient Tribes of Africa

  • The total population of the Hadza Tribe is estimated from 1200 to 1300 people as of 2013.
  • The Tribe of Yoruba is considered as the largest ethnic group in the entire African continent. It has a population of 35 million people.
  • The African Pygmies are relatively popular because of their small stature. Studies have shown that Pygmies are born with an average size but their growth spurt is very slow.
  • The Oromo Tribe is consists of people who are living within the northern part of Kenya, Somalia, and South Ethiopia. It accounts for 35 percent of the entire Ethiopian population.
  • The people of the Nama Tribe are often referred to as the Khoisan. It is believed that the Tribe of Nama is the last true offspring of the Khoikhoi.
  • The Maasai Tribe has been known for its unique customs and beliefs as well as their colorful outfits.
  • Similar to the Hadza Tribe, the Tribe of Sandawe also speak a click language.
  • The Himba Tribe was founded on the Kunene region of Northern Namibia.

Who is famously known as the Red People of Africa?

The Himba Tribe is often dubbed as the Red People of Africa due to fact that paint themselves red.

Where do the San people live?

Presently, the San people live in South African countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, and Lesotho.

What are the sub-tribes of Xhosa?

The Tribe of Xhosa is comprised of sub-tribes which include the Mpondo, Bhaca, Thembu, Xesibe, Mfengu, and Mpondomise.

How old is the Nama Tribe?

The Nama Tribe is projected to be about 100,000 years old.