The Struggle: Africa’s Ancient Hunter Gatherers Fight for Survival

Screenshot 2014-04-18 at 11.00.52 AMNorthern Tanzania (CNN) — One could classify the Hadza people as a throwback. Numbering a mere 1,300, they represent one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world. Their language — which includes click consonants — is unrelated to any other on Earth, and is possibly one of the oldest spoken languages in existence.

Their DNA, too, suggests an ancient heritage, easily 100,000 years old (and possibly a primary root for mankind’s family tree). Their home, near Northern Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, has been dubbed the “Cradle of Mankind,” partly because it has unearthed some of the oldest known human remains.

An ancient way of life

Many of the Hadza live in a remote stretch of Tanzania, where much of their day is given over to foraging and hunting. The techniques they use for finding sustenance are passed down generation to generation. The men favor handmade bows and arrows, while the women dig up roots and gather berries.

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The Hadza don’t store food, plant trees or build houses. Rather, they make temporary huts from dried grass and intertwined branches, and move in accordance with the local animals.

“We are rich in tradition,” explains Shani Msafin-Sigwaze, the first Hadza to attend university, and an informal spokesperson for his community.

“Culture is very important, because when people forget their culture, they forget where they are from,” he adds.

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