The impact of Western civilisation in Africa is enormous and documented, from culture and religion to political structure. But Africa isn’t a country. Some societies and tribes, somehow, have remained unaffected by the reach of civilisation and thus making their dressing, custom, traditions and lifestyle uniquely peculiar.
Till date, these tribes in Africa still exist in an uncivilised bubble, maintaining traditions long left behind by the rest of the world and providing a wealth of information for anthropologists seeking to understand the way cultures have developed over the centuries. Below are the five African tribes unaffected by civilisation;
1. The Hamer Tribe
The Hamer are located in south-west Ethiopia and in the Omo valley. They live in huts and villages and have been able to preserve their unique culture, wherein young men jump over bulls in order to transition into adulthood and women offer themselves to be whipped by men who have recently been initiated.
They are Agro-pastoralists, meaning they grow crops and keep livestock. Many elements of their traditional religion are practised today. For instance, they believe that natural objects such as rocks and trees have spirits.
2. The Bayaka ‘Pygmy’ Tribe
The Bayaka are found in the southwestern Central African Republic and are reported to be constantly dwindling in their numbers.
The reason is that their natural habitat, which is the rainforest, is always under threat from illegal mining, genocide and deforestation.
They call themselves the people of the forest and they are masters at exploiting the resources of their environment. They are hunter-gatherers.
3. Dogon Tribe
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali. They are believed to be of Egyptian descent who have managed to preserve their culture over the years. The majority of them live in rocky hills, mountains and plateaus. They are mainly into agriculture, leatherwork and craft.
The Dogon are also famous for their mask dances, wooden sculptures and architecture. Like many African societies, the Dogon are agriculturists, cultivating millet, sorghum, rice, as well as peanuts, onions and tobacco.
4. The Karo
With an estimated population of 1,000 to 2,000, the Karo Tribe makes up some of the smallest indigenous groups left in Africa. The ethnic group occupies the Lower Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia. The Karo paint their bodies with a mixture of white chalk, yellow mineral rock, iron ore and charcoal to express beauty.
Another symbolic custom practised by this tribe is body scarification, a tradition down to express cultural identity and community status.
5. The Hadzabe
The Hadza tribe occupy the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Eyasi in the Great Rift Valley, whose way of life has remained the same for more than 10,000 years. One of the intriguing aspects of the Hadza tribe is their language. They speak a distinctive click language which has led to the belief that they are related to the Khoisan of the Kalahari Desert.
This Tanzanian tribe mainly rely on wild fruits, tubers, and roots for food. They are also avid hunters who use bows and arrows to hunt antelope, buffalos and birds.