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Back In Time: The Hadzabe People of Tanzania - A Photo Journey

Imagine a society with no warfare, no rules, no official leaders, no known history of famine and relatively no personal possessions; a place where people truly live in the here and now. Well, such a place still exists....

In northern Tanzania—in one of the harshest environments on the planet—live the Hadzabe people. The Hadzabe are a small indigenous ethnic group, numbering fewer than 1,000.

The Hadzabe are one of the few truly hunter-gatherer societies left in the world and are the last true nomads of Africa. They grow no food; have no livestock and almost no possessions. They have no calendars or clocks, or even permanent shelters. The Hadzabe speak a unique native language called Hadzane. It is not closely related to any other that still exists. The language is filled with sounds, such as tongue clicks, that are so different from most languages. The language doesn’t have words for numbers past three or four. Amazingly, this little cultural pocket of the world is little changed from 10,000 years ago.

Living off the Land - The Hadzabe live around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the Serengeti Plateau. In this hot, dry harsh terrain there is a shortage of fresh water and, for an outsider, food may not seem plentiful, but for the Hadzabe their home is filled with everything they need. It’s estimated that the Hadzabe spend about four to six hours a day actively pursuing food.

The women collect berries and baobab fruit, while the men collect honey and hunt. Men use a bow and arrow to hunt. The bows are made out of animal tendons, and the arrows are dipped in a poison made from local plants. The poison on the arrowheads is potent enough to kill a giraffe. Men usually hunt alone, but sometimes when they’re hunting larger prey, such as a baboon, they’ll go as a group. Their kills are brought back to the camp, where they are shared with everyone. Sometimes, if the kill is especially large, the whole camp will move to the carcass to feast. It’s not just food that the Hadzabe get from the land.

They also know where to get water from trees, how to make various medicines from plants and they still make fire by rubbing sticks together.

A Dangerous Life - Although the thought of not being burdened by too many possessions and rules may be appealing to some, the Hadzabe do not live what most of us would consider an easy life. They face constant dangers. About 1/5 of all babies die before reaching their first birthday, and almost one-half of children don’t make it to age fifteen. In addition to the extreme heat and lack of drinking water, the Hadzabe must contend with poisonous spiders and scorpions, black mamba snake bites, malaria, and of course the many large animals that would make a quick meal of a human.

The Ever-Creeping Outside World - While there are roughly 1,000 people who are identified as Hadzabe, today only around 300 of them live the traditional lifestyle. As with many indigenous groups, the outside world has slowly encroached upon the Hadzabe.

By some estimates, they have lost as much as 90% of their homeland. There are now even dirt roads at the edges of their land. Some Hadzabe are learning to speak Swahili to communicate with other groups in the area, and there are even a handful of Hadzabe people who speak English. The double-edged sword of tourism is another outside influence that cannot be ignored. Hopefully those who are fortunate enough to visit with the Hadzabe people will do so responsibly and be influential in helping to protect their ancient way of life.

View The Hadzabe through the revealing lens of Aliakber 'aZh' Zoeb and benefit from a 15% pre-release discount for our Zawadee Insiders & Facebook fans. Available in a variety of different sizes and choices of media (paper, canvas, etc.), Ali's photographs are powerfully unique elements for any home or office décor.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home is pleased to announce that we now represent the esteemed photographer - Ali 'aZh' Zoeb a renowned Tanzanian fashion, editorial and lifestyle photographer.

Valued as one of Tanzania's best fashion photographers, Ali's passion for portraiture sings out in his photographic series of The Hadzabe - Living in the Here & Now.
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Got To Go There - The Magic of the KwaZulu Natal

The KwaZulu Natal is about as eclectic a place as you can find. That's part of what makes it so interesting.

Rough and magical, smart and sophisticated, rural and urban, the KwaZulu Natal is a symphony of differences. Shabby suburbs nestled cheek to cheek with upscale malls. Beautiful beaches contrast with dramatic mountains and dry savannahs. African life beats a vigorous counterpoint in markets to the quieter and more pastoral settings in the rural areas.

"KwaZulu means place of the Zulu"

Known as the "garden province" of South Africa, it was created very recently. In 1994, the Zulu bantustan of KwaZulu merged with Natal province. Boasting a long shoreline along the Indian Ocean, the province borders Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. Beaches are well known to be world-class quality. 

Many notable figures of South Africa were born in the KwaZulu Natal. Albert Luthuli was the first non-white person (as well as the first person from outside Europe and the Americas) to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1960). Bhambatha was a 19th century Zulu chief who became an anti-apartheid icon. The province is home to two Unesco World Heritage sites - the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park.


The KwaZulu Natal is home to the Zulu monarchy and the majority of the population and the language is Zulu. The monarch is King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. Although the Zulu monarchy has no direct political power, the king holds considerable influence on the more traditional Zulu population. Interestingly, a ceremony is performed every year, adding another wife in marriage to the king.

This was actually a method for creating connections among the various peoples! The ceremony is called the "Reed Dance". The current king has not added any new wives recently as he promotes abstinence until marriage as a way of both preserving Zulu culture and preventing the spread of HIV. Game reserves abound. Bird watching, elephant and hippo sighting, white rhinos, giraffes - the province is teeming with fascinating flora and fauna!

The Hluhluwe Umfolosi Game Reserve seems to be a bit of a "one stop shop" for those wishing to observe African animals. Home to the "Big Five" (elephant, buffalo, lion, rhino and leopard), the Hluhluwe Umfolosi is also a great place to spot prolific birdlife.

This prestigious reserve is famous for bringing the White Rhino numbers back from extinction and continued advances in setting benchmarks in conservation. Through careful management, the rhinos have multiplied and are exported to other reserves.

Elephants at Hluhluwe Umfolosi Game Reserve 

The Ardmore Collection

On Springvale Farm, located in the KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), a most astounding art studio is found. Ardmore Ceramics has been acknowledged by the acclaimed auction house - Christie's - as producers of "modern day collectibles". Styled in an exuberant, exotic (even, may we say, whimsical style), the ceramics produced by this remarkable atelier are superb examples of design and craftsmanship. Often inspired by wildlife, Ardmore Ceramics have been exhibited in leading galleries and collections around the world, including The Museum of Art & Design in New York and The Museum of Cultures in Basel (Switzerland). Ardmore's modern art style breaks ceramic conventions, using techniques resulting from years of experimentation with materials and processes. The vibrant colours and enormous attention to detail are simply superb! 
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