The Mursi (or Mun as they refer to themselves) are a Nilotic pastoralist ethnic group that inhabits southwestern Ethiopia. They principally reside in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, close to the border with South Sudan. According to the 2007 national census, there are 7,500 Mursi, 448 of whom live in urban areas; of the total number, 92.25% live in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR).
Surrounded by mountains between the Omo River and its tributary the Mago, the home of the Mursi is one of the most isolated regions of the country. Their neighbors include the Aari, the Banna, the Bodi, the Kara, the Kwegu, the Nyangatom and the Suri. They are grouped together with the Me'en and Suri by the Ethiopian government under the name Surma.
The Mursi undergo various rites of passage, educational or disciplinary processes. Lip-plates are a well known aspect of the Mursi and Surma, who are probably the last groups in Africa amongst whom it is still the norm for women to wear large pottery or wooden discs, or ‘plates,’ in their lower lips. Girls' lips are pierced at the age of 15 or 16. Occasionally lip plates are worn to a dance by unmarried women, and increasingly they are worn to attract tourists in order to earn some extra money. Similar body ornaments are worn by both sexes of the Suyá people, a Brazilian tribe, and by men among the Kayapo.
Ceremonial duelling (thagine), a form of ritualised male violence, is a highly valued and popular activity of Mursi men, especially unmarried men, and a key marker of Mursi identity. Age-Sets are an important political feature, where men are formed into named ‘age sets,’ and pass through a number of ‘age grades’ during the course of their lives; married women have the same age grade status as their husbands.Gurage People
The Gurage people are an ethnic group in Ethiopia. According to the 2007 national census, its population is 1,867,377 people (or 2.53% of the total population of Ethiopia), of whom 792,659 are urban dwellers. This is 2.53% of the total population of Ethiopia, or 7.52% of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR). The Gurage people inhabit a fertile, semi-mountainous region in southwest Ethiopia, about 150 miles southwest of Addis Ababa, bordering the Awash River in the north, the Gibe River (a tributary of the Omo) to the southwest, and Lake Zway in the east.
The languages spoken by the Gurage are known as the Gurage languages. The variations among these languages are used to group the Gurage people into three dialectically varied subgroups, Northern, Eastern and Western. However, the largest group within the Eastern subgroup, known as the Silt'e, identify foremost as Muslims. In 2000, the Silt'e, refusing to identify as Gurage, voted overwhelmingly for the establishment of a separate special administrative unit within SNNPR by the EPRDF government.
According to the historian Paul B. Henze, their origins are explained by traditions of a military expedition to the south during the last years of the Aksumite Empire, which left military colonies that eventually became isolated from both northern Ethiopia and each other.
The majority of the inhabitants of the Gurage Zone were reported as Muslim, with 51.02% of the population reporting that belief, while 41.91% practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, 5.79% were Protestants, and 1.12% Catholic. According to the 1994 Ethiopian census, self-identifying Gurage comprise about 4.3% of Ethiopia's population, or about 3 million people.
The Gurage live a sedentary life based on agriculture, involving a complex system of crop rotation and transplanting. Ensete is their main staple crop, but other cash crops are grown, which include coffee and chat. Animal husbandry is practiced, but mainly for milk supply and dung. Other foods consumed include green cabbage, cheese, butter, and roasted grains, with meat consumption being very limited (also used in rituals or ceremonies).
The Gurage, the writer Nega Mezlekia notes, "have earned a reputation as skilled traders". One example of an enterprising Gurage is one Tekke, whom Nathaniel T. Kenney described as "an Ethiopian Horatio Alger, Jr.":
He began his career selling old bottles and tin cans; the Emperor [Haile Selassie] recently rewarded his achievement in creating his plantation by calling him to Addis Ababa and decorating him.Silt'e People
The Silt'e people are an ethnic group in southern Ethiopia. They inhabit today's Silt'e Zone which is part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. A considerable number of Silt'e live in Addis Ababa, Adama and other cities and smaller urban centres of southern Ethiopia where they make a living, e.g., as merchants or keepers of petty shops. In the countryside the Silt'e practise mixed farming and cultivate ensete.
The term Silt'e is the modern ethnonym of the speakers of the Silt'e language. Today's Silt'e comprise the following major historical sub-groups: Azernet, Berbere, Alichcho, Wuriro, Melga (or Ulbareg) and Silt'i (or Summusilt'i). The name Silt'i (for the subgroup) is derived from the alleged ancestor Gen Silt'i. The modern ethnonym Silt'e was chosen in memory of this ancestor and as a reminiscence of the old Islamic sultanate of Hadiyya the Silte people claim a historical relation to.
The great majority of the Silt'e population is Muslim. Until the second half of the twentieth century the Silt'e were considered as being part of the Gurage (but called Adiyya or Hadiyya by the Sebat Bet Gurage). Other designations were Islam or East Gurage (after their language which forms part of the East Gurage language area). After the fall of the Derg regime in 1991 a political movement formed to establish an independent ethnic identity for the Silt'e, as they now called themselves. Ten years later, the Silt'e were successful in obtaining an administrative independence from the Gurage Zone in the creation of the Silt'e Zone.Nubian People
The Nubians are an ethnic group originally from northern Sudan, and southern Egypt. The Nubian people in Sudan inhabit the region between Wadi Halfa in the north and Al Dabbah in the south. The main Nubian groups from north to south are the Halfaweyen, Sikut, Mahas, and Danagla. They speak the Nubian languages. There are also Sudanese Nubian minorities in Kenya and Uganda. They speak Nubi.
In ancient times Nubians were depicted by Egyptians as having very dark skin, often shown with hooped earrings and with braided or extended hair. Ancient Nubians were famous for their skill and precision with the bow.
Nubian Egyptians have had a strong interest in the archeological discoveries of recent decades that have brought a richer knowledge of ancient Nubia. Nubians were often subjected to discrimination in Egypt before this research became widely known. Nubians now take pride in their cultural history. Some express an affinity with Sudanese culture, as many have relatives in Sudan. This common identity has been celebrated in poetry, novels, music and storytelling.
Nubians in modern Sudan include the Danaqla around Dongola Reach, the Mahas from the Third Cataract to Wadi Halfa, and the Sikurta around Aswan. These Nubians write using their own script. They also practice scarification: Mahas men and women have three scars on each cheek, while the Danaqla wear these scars on their temples. Younger generations appear to be abandoning this custom.
Nubia's ancient cultural development was influenced by its geography. It is sometimes divided into Upper Nubia and Lower Nubia. Upper Nubia was where the ancient Kingdom of Napata (the Kush) was located. Lower Nubia has been called "the corridor to Africa", where there was contact and cultural exchange between Nubians, Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, and Arabs. Lower Nubia was also where the Kingdom of Meroe flourished. The languages spoken by modern Nubians are based on ancient Sudanic dialects. From north to south, they are: Kenuz, Fadicha (Matoki), Sukkot, Mahas, Danagla.
Kerma, Nepata and Meroe were Nubia's largest population centres. The rich agricultural lands of Nubia supported these cities. Ancient Egyptian rulers sought control of Nubia's wealth, including gold and the important trade routes within its territories. Nubia's trade links with Egypt led to Egypt's domination over Nubia during the New Kingdom period. The emergence of the Kingdom of Meroe in the 8th century BCE led to Egypt being under the control of Nubian rulers for half a century, although they preserved many Egyptian cultural traditions. Nubian kings were considered pious scholars and patrons of the arts, copying ancient Egyptian texts and even restoring some Egyptian cultural practices. After this, Egypt's influence declined greatly. Meroe became the centre of power for Nubia and cultural links with sub-Saharan Africa gained greater influence.
Modern Nubian architecture in Sudan is distinctive, and typically features a large courtyard surrounded by a high wall. A large, ornately decorated gate, preferably facing the Nile, dominates the property. Brightly coloured stucco is often decorated with symbols connected with the family inside, or popular motifs such as geometric patterns, palm trees, or the evil eye that wards away bad luck.Copts People
The Copts are the native Christians of Egypt, a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt and the largest Christian group there. Christianity was the religion of the vast majority from 400–800 A.D. and the majority after the Muslim conquest until the mid-10th century and remains the faith of a significant minority population. Historically they spoke the Coptic language, a direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century. They now speak Arabic.
Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of the Egyptian population. Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The remainder of around 800,000 are divided between the Coptic Catholic and various Coptic Protestant churches.
The word Copt was adopted in English in the 17th century, from New Latin Coptus, Cophtus, which is derived from Arabic collective qubṭ / qibṭ قبط "the Copts" with nisba adjective qubṭī, qibṭī قبطى, plural aqbāṭ أقباط; Also quftī, qiftī, Arabic /f/ representing historical Coptic /p/. an Arabisation of the Coptic word kubti (Bohairic) and/or kuptaion (Sahidic). The Coptic word is in turn an adaptation of the Greek Αἰγύπτιος Aigýptios "Egyptian" ultimately related to Caphtor.
The term is thus ultimately derived from the Greek designation of the native Egyptian population in Roman Egypt (as distinct from Greeks, Romans, Jews, etc.). After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, it became restricted to those Egyptians adhering to the Christian religion.
The Greek term for Egypt, Αἰγύπτος, is itself derived from the Egyptian language, but dates to a much earlier period, being attested already in Mycenean Greek as a3-ku-pi-ti-jo (lit. "Egyptian"; used here as a man's name). This Mycenaean form is likely from Middle Egyptian ḥwt-k3-ptḥ ("Hut-ka-Ptah"), literally "Estate (or 'House') of the Spirit of Ptah" (cf. Akkadian āluḫi-ku-up-ta-aḫ), the name of the temple complex of the god Ptah at Memphis.
In the 20th century, some Egyptian nationalists and intellectuals in the context of Pharaonism began using the term qubṭ in the historical sense. For example, Markos Pasha Semeika, founder of the Coptic Museum, addressed a group of Egyptian students saying: "All of you are Copts. Some of you are Muslim Copts, others are Christian Copts, but all of you are descended from the Ancient Egyptians".Luo People
The Luo (also spelled Lwo) are several ethnically and linguistically related Nilotic ethnic groups in Africa that inhabit an area ranging from South Sudan and Ethiopia, through northern Uganda and eastern Congo (DRC), into western Kenya, and the Mara Region of Tanzania. Their Luo languages belong to the Nilotic group and as such form part of the larger Eastern Sudanic family.
Within the Nilotic languages, the Luo together with the Dinka–Nuer form the Western Nilotic branch. Groups within the Luo nation include the Shilluk, Anuak, Acholi, Alur, Padhola, Joluo (Kenyan and Tanzanian Luo), Bor, Luwo
The Joluo and their language Dholuo are also known as the "Luo proper", being eponymous of the larger group. The level of historical separation between these groups is estimated at about eight centuries. Dispersion from the Nilotic homeland in South Sudan was presumably triggered by the turmoils of the Muslim conquest of Sudan, and the migration of the individual groups over the last few centuries can to some extent be traced in the respective group's oral history.
Acholi (also Acoli) is a Luo Nilotic ethnic group from Northern Uganda (an area commonly referred to as Acholiland), including the districts of Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, and Pader; and Magwe County in South Sudan. Approximately 1.17 million Acholi were counted in the Uganda census of 2002, and 45,000 more were living in South Sudan in 2000.
The Acholi migrated south to northern Uganda from the area now known as Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan by about 1,000 CE. Starting in the late seventeenth century, a new sociopolitical order developed among the Luo of northern Uganda, mainly characterized by the formation of chiefdoms headed by Rwodi (sg. Rwot, 'ruler'). The chiefs traditionally came from one clan, and each chiefdom had several villages made up of different patrilineal clans. By the mid-nineteenth century, about 60 small chiefdoms existed in eastern Acholiland. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Arabic-speaking traders from the north started to call them Shooli, a term which was transformed into 'Acholi'.
Their traditional communities were organised hamlets, where their dwellings were circular huts with a high peak, furnished with a mud sleeping-platform, jars of grain and a sunk fireplace. The women daubed the walls with mud, decorating them with geometrical or conventional designs in red, white or grey. The men were skilled hunters, using nets and spears. They also kept goats, sheep and cattle. The women were also accomplished agriculturists, growing and processing a variety of food crops, including millet, simsim, groundnuts, peas, sorghum, vegetables, etc. In war, the men used spears and long, narrow shields of giraffe or ox hide.
During Uganda's colonial period, the British encouraged political and economic development in the south of the country, in particular among the Baganda. In contrast, the Acholi and other northern ethnic groups supplied much of the national manual labor and came to comprise a majority of the military, creating what some have called a "military ethnocracy". Due to a changing economy, after the 1950s, fewer Acholi were recruited to the armed forces, but continued to be associated with them in popular mythology and stereotypes.
In the 2000s, James Ojent Latigo is among the authors who have described some of Uganda's social problems as based on the way the political elites have used ethnicities to divide the country. He has noted that the emphasis on distinction among ethnic groups has even been part of the internal government dialogue." He wrote, "Part of the structural causes of the conflict in Uganda has been explained as rooted in the ‘diversity of ethnic groups which were at different levels of socio-economic development and political organisation.’ (Ugandan Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs 1997.)
The Acholi are known to the outside world mainly because of the long insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, an Acholi from Gulu. The activities of the LRA have been devastating within Acholiland (though they spread also to neighbouring districts and countries). In September 1996, the Ugandan government moved hundreds of thousands of Acholi from the Gulu district into camps, ostensibly for their protection. Since 1996 this policy has expanded to encompass the entire rural Acholi population of four districts, one million people. These camps had some of the highest mortality rates in the world with an estimated 1,000 people dying per week at one point. Malaria and AIDS have been the primary disease causes of deaths. The refugees in the camps have also been subject to raids by both LRA and government forces.
At the height of the insurgency, 1.8 million people in the north were living in camps. Peace talks beginning in 2005 promised some relief to these people, and some camps were closed in 2007 as security in the north improved. As of September 2009, large numbers of Acholi people remain in camps as internally displaced persons. The long civil war in the North has destroyed much of their society.Fur People
The Fur are an ethnic group from western Sudan, principally inhabiting the region of Darfur where they are the largest tribe.
They are a Western Sudanese people who practice sedentary herding and agriculture, mainly the cultivation of millet. Their society is a traditional one governed by village elders. They speak Fur, a Nilo-Saharan language, and are Muslims, having adopted the religion following the region's conquest by the Kanem-Bornu Empire during the Middle Ages. Some of them have come to speak Arabic in recent years.
The name of Darfur comes from the name of this tribe and means "the home of the Fur". Most of the well known governors of Darfur such as Deriage and Tegani Seisei are members of the Fur. The Fur established the historical Sultanate of Darfur which governed Darfur until 1916 (see History of Darfur).
Abdul Wahid al Nur, a leader among the Fur, established the Sudan Liberation Movement and Army. Another leader of the tribe, as of 2007, is Ahmed Abdelshafi (Toba).
The traditional heartland of the Fur is the mountainous region around Jebel Sî and Jebel Marra Wadi Salih and Zaligi; today, however, most of them live in the lower country west and southwest of that area, between 11–14 N and 23–26 E. Some Fur live across the border in Chad, many of them refugees.
The Furs' lifestyle has led to conflict with the nomadic Baggara, cattle-herders of the region, concerning access to water and grazing land, particularly in Darfur's central Jebel Marra mountains where the best agricultural land is to be found. This has been the source of ethnic tensions for many years, culminating in the Darfur conflict which began in 2003.
Many Fur villagers were massacred in the ethnic fighting as Mahria and Terjem tribes divided up land they conquered from the Fur, according to a September 3, 2007 New York Times account citing United Nations officials and Fur survivors.
The Fur are well known for their Muslim piety. They are also well known for being very proud of their Black African identity, the main reason behind the Fur's opposition to all governments that have been ruling Sudan since 1956 and led by central and northern Sudan Arab elites. Although they are well known for their Muslim piety, their Islam is very much mixed with their Indigenous traditions and customs. For many Fur, African traditions are more important than the Islamic instructions. Approximately all new Fur intellectuals are secular and tend to support the idea of New Sudan that was created by John Garang De Mabiour, the founder of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army.
The men bear the family name. They work to bring money to the family and are responsible for all important decisions related to the family, such as finances and marriages. The women get water, prepare the food, and ensure the cleanliness of the home.
Daughters normally help their mothers, milk the cows, and stay at home. Sons rear and herd cattle along with the domesticated cows. If either of these two misbehave they similarly punished by their elders. Also, it is disrespectful look an adult in the eyes.
Sudan is well known for its Guhwah coffee served from a jebena, a special Sudanese pot. The coffee beans are roasted in this pot over charcoal, then ground with cloves and other spices. The grounds are steeped in hot water and the coffee is served in tiny cups after straining it through a grass sieve.
Tea or chai is also very popular and served in small glasses without milk. Some beverages enjoyed in the non-Islamic areas are Aragi, a clear strong spirit made from dates, merissa, a type of beer and tedj, or wines, made from dates or honey. Sudanese cuisine is as varied as its cultures, especially in the south, but it has certain unique characteristics. Millet porridge and fool medamas, a savory dish of mashed fava beans, are popular breakfast foods in the north. Lamb and chicken are often eaten, but pork is prohibited to Muslims. Wheat, and dura sorghum, are the staple starches. Breads include the Arabian khubz, and kisra, an omelette-like pancake which is part of the Sudanese dinner. Maschi, a beef and tomato dish, is also typical. Fruits are peeled for dessert and a favourite treat is creme caramel. In the south, dinner is served on a low, bare table. There may be five or six dishes to dip into with large pieces of flatbread. These dishes are accompanied by a salad and shata, a red-hot spice mixture served in small dishes. After the meal, dessert is served, then tea. On special occasions incense may be lit. The ritual of hospitality is important in Sudan.Hausa People
The Hausa (autonyms for singular : Bahaushe (m), Bahaushiya (f); plural Hausawa and general: Hausa/Haoussa; exonyms being Ausa, Mgbakpa, Kado, Al-Takari, Fellata and Abakwariga) are the largest ethnic group in West Africa and one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. They live primarily in the Sahelian and Sudanian areas of northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, with significant numbers also living in parts of Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Togo, Ghana, and Sudan. The largest population of Hausa are concentrated in Nigeria and Niger, where they constitute the majority. Predominantly Hausa communities are scattered throughout West Africa and on the traditional Hajj route across the Sahara Desert, especially around the town of Agadez. A few Hausa have also moved to large coastal cities in the region such as Lagos and Cotonou, as well as to parts of North Africa such as Libya. Most Hausa, however, live in small villages or towns in West Africa, where they grow crops, raise livestock including cattle and engage in trade. They speak the Hausa language, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Chadic group. The Hausa aristocracy had historically developed an equestrian based culture. Still a status symbol of the traditional nobility in Hausa society, the horse still features in the Eid day celebrations, known as Ranar Sallah (in English: the Day of the Prayer).
Kano, in northern Nigeria, is considered the center of Hausa trade and culture. The Hausa of Sokoto, also in northern Nigeria, speak the oldest surviving classical vernacular of the language. Historically Sokoto was the centre of Hausa Islamic scholarship. The Hausa are culturally and historically closest to other Chadic groups (in northern Nigeria), the Fulani, the Zarma and Songhai (in Tillabery, Tahoua and Dosso in Niger, Kanuri and Shuwa Arab (in Chad, Sudan and northeastern Nigeria), Tuareg (in Agadez, Maradi and Zinder), the Gur and Gonja (northeastern Ghana, northern Togo and upper Benin) and Gwari (in central Nigeria). All of these groups live in the Sahel, Saharan and Sudanian regions and as a result have influenced each other's cultures to varying degrees. Today some Fulani people cannot be distinguished from Hausa people in many northern states of Nigeria, due to inter-marriage and cultural assimilation. In Agadez and Saharan areas of central Niger, the Tuareg and Hausa groups are indistinguishable from each other in their traditional clothing; both wear the tagelmust and indigo Babban Riga/Gandora, though the two groups differ in language, lifestyle and chosen beasts of burden (Tuaregs use camels, while Hausas ride horses). Other Hausa have mixed with groups such as the Yoruba and Shuwa incorporating the foods and style of dress into local Hausa customs, as well as heavily influencing the cultures of these groups. Islamic Shari’a law is loosely the law of the land in Hausa areas, well understood by any Islamic scholar or teacher, known in Hausa as a m'allam, mallan or malam. This pluralist attitude toward ethnic-identity and cultural affiliation have enabled the Hausa to inhabit one of the largest regions geographically of non-Bantu ethnic groups in Africa.
Between 500 CE and 700 CE Hausa people had been slowly moving west from Nubia and mixing in with the local Northern and Central Nigerian population, established a number of strong states in what is now Northern and Central Nigeria and Eastern Niger. With the decline of the Nok culture and Sokoto, who had previously controlled Central and Northern Nigeria between 800 BCE and 200 CE, the Hausa were able to emerge as the new power in the region. Closely linked with the Kanuri people of Kanem-Bornu (Lake Chad), the Hausa aristocracy adopted Islam in the 11th century CE. The Hausa Bakwai kingdoms were established around the 7th to 11th centuries. Of these, the Kingdom of Kano was the most important.
Hausa-Fulani Sokoto Caliphate in the 19th century
By the 12th century CE the Hausa were becoming one of Africa's major powers. The architecture of the Hausa is perhaps one of the least known but most beautiful of the medieval age. Many of their early mosques and palaces are bright and colourful and often include intricate engraving or elaborate symbols designed into the facade. By 1500 CE the Hausa utilized a modified Arabic script known as ajami to record their own language; the Hausa compiled several written histories, the most popular being the Kano Chronicle.
In 1810 the Fulani, another Islamic African ethnic group that spanned across West Africa, invaded the Hausa states. Their cultural similarities however allowed for significant integration between the two groups, who in modern times are often demarcated as "Hausa-Fulani" rather than as individuated groups, and many Fulani in the region do not distinguish themselves from the Hausa.
Emir Of Muri Alhaji Abbas Tafida and his vizier
The Hausa remain preeminent in Niger and Northern Nigeria. Their impact in Nigeria is paramount, as the Hausa-Fulani amalgamation has controlled Nigerian politics for much of its independent history. They remain one of the largest, educated and most historically grounded civilizations in West Africa. Among the prominent people of Hausa is Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the business magnate, and the richest man in Africa.Zaghawa People
The Zaghawa (also spelled Zakhawa) are an ethnic group of eastern Chad and western Sudan, including Darfur.
The Kanemite royal history, the Girgam, refers to the Zaghawa people as the Duguwa. Today, Zaghawa refer to themselves as the Beri, while the name "Zaghawa" comes from the nearby Arab peoples and became better known. They have their own language, which is also called Zaghawa, and the breed of sheep that they herd is called Zaghawa by the Arabs. They are semi-nomadic and obtain much of their livelihood through herding cattle, camels and sheep and harvesting wild grains. It has been estimated that there are between 75,000 and 350,000 Zaghawa.
While they are not very powerful in Sudan, they politically dominate Chad. The current president, Idriss Déby and several former prime ministers of Chad are Zaghawa, as well as many other members of the government. Thus the Chadian Zaghawa are among the richest and most influential people of Chad.
However, in Sudan, the Zaghawa are caught up in the Darfur crisis, and have suffered much loss from the troubles there. The Zaghawa of Sudan are among the peoples living in the refugee camps in Darfur and eastern Chad where the recruitment of child soldiers into rebel movements is an ongoing problem.
The Zaghawa have been among the tribes in Darfur who have been referred to as "African" even as other tribes that have fought with them have been called "Arab".
As a result of Tijani Muslim missionaries from West Africa who were traveling through their area to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, the leadership converted to Islam. In the 1940s, the Zaghawa began to turn to Islam from Animism en masse. In Darfur, the Zaghawa are well-known for their piety. Due to the fighting in Darfur, where they are targeted by local Arab militia due to their ethnic heritage, 100,000 have become refugees across the border in Chad. A Zaghawa tribesman named Daoud Hari wrote a memoir about Darfur called The Translator and a Zaghawa woman named Dr. Halima Bashir co-authored a memoir with Damien Lewis called 'Tears of the Desert', which both spread knowledge about the atrocities in Darfur.
In 2000 an alphabet based on livestock brands was created for the Zaghawa language.Sara People
The Sara are an ethnic group who reside in southern Chad and Central African Republic. They make up 27.7% of Chad's total population (year 1993 Census).
The Sara (kameeni), descendants of the Sao, are the largest ethnic group in Chad. They are a mostly non-Muslim people — about a sixth of the ethnic group is estimated to be Christian, with most practicing traditional faiths i.e. worshiping the Sun.
Located in the south, especially in the Moyen-Chari, Logone Oriental, Logone Occidental, and parts of the Tandjile regions, they are Nilotic people who are believed to have migrated westwards to the Chad during the sixteenth century because of a constant threat from Arab slave raiders.
The Sara is a patrilineal ethnic group. Its people speak a Nilo-Sudanic language and form some twelve tribes or clans, including the Ngambaye, the Mbaye, the Goulay, the Madjingaye, the Kaba, the Sara-Kaba, the Niellim, the Nar, the Dai and Ngama.
The Sara (Sa-Ra) designation appears to have been derived from Arabic, meaning the Sons of Ra, the ancient Egyptian Sun-God. The Sara lived in the north-east along the Nile River before they sought refuge in the south against northern Arab slave raids. Most Sara are Traditionalist in religion, some worshipping the sun. The Sara are agriculturalists; they form the backbone of the Chadian economy, producing cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, millet, sorghum, and cassava. They live in south Chad, the most well-watered part of the country, thus the most agriculturally productive part.
During the French colonial period, they became targets for forced labor and military recruitment. In fact, they were the largest group of Africans to fight in World War II. The French often romanticized their tall, physically powerful presence and referred to them as "La Belle Race" (The beautiful race).
The Sara people enthusiastically grasped the meagre educational and religious opportunities offered by the French. Educated Sara people are fluent in French as a second language today. In the 1970s, François Tombalbaye, the first President of Chad and from Sara origins, introduced an Africanization aim: the yondo initiation rites of the Sara for all those who wanted to obtain positions in the civil service and the army, rites that were seen as anti-Christian.
The Sara people make up ten per cent of the population of the Central African Republic, making it the fourth largest ethnic group in the country.Dinka People
The Dinka people are an ethnic group inhabiting the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Nile basin, Jonglei and parts of southern Kordufan and Upper Nile regions. They are mainly agripastoral people, relying on cattle herding at riverside camps in the dry season and growing millet (awuou) and other varieties of grains (rap) in fixed settlements during the rainy season. They number around 4.5 million people according to the 2008 Sudan census, constituting about 18% of the population of the entire country, and the largest ethnic tribe in South Sudan. Dinka, or as they refer to themselves, Muonyjang (singular) and jieng (plural), are one of the branches of the River Lake Nilotes (mainly sedentary agripastoral peoples of the Nile Valley and African Great Lakes region who speak Nilotic languages, including the Nuer and Luo). Dinka are sometimes noted for their height. With the Tutsi of Rwanda, they are believed to be the tallest people in Africa. Roberts and Bainbridge reported the average height of 182.6 cm (5 ft 11.9 in) in a sample of 52 Dinka Ageir and 181.3 cm (5 ft 11.4 in) in 227 Dinka Ruweng measured in 1953–1954. However, it seems the stature of today's Dinka males is lower, possibly as a consequence of undernutrition and conflicts. An anthropometric survey of Dinka men, war refugees in Ethiopia, published in 1995 found a mean height of 176.4 cm (5 ft 9.4 in). Other studies of comparative historical height data and nutrition place the Dinka as the tallest people in the world.
The Dinka people have no centralised political authority, instead comprising many independent but interlinked clans. Certain of those clans traditionally provide ritual chiefs, known as the "masters of the fishing spear" or beny bith, who provide leadership for the entire people and appear to be at least in part hereditary.
Their language called Dinka, as well as "thuɔŋjäŋ" (thuongmuoingjang), is one of the Nilotic languages of the eastern Sudanic language family. The name means "people" in the Dinka language. It is written using the Latin alphabet with a few additions.Coloured People
In Southern Africa, the term Coloureds is an ethnic label for people of mixed ethnic origin who possess ancestry from Europe, Asia, and various Khoisan and Bantu tribes of Southern Africa. Besides the extensive combining of these diverse heritages in the Western Cape — in which a distinctive Cape Coloured and affiliated Cape Malay culture developed — in other parts of Southern Africa, their development has usually been the result of the meeting of two distinct groups. Genetic studies suggest the group has the highest levels of mixed ancestry in the world. However, the maternal (female) contribution to the Coloured population, measured by mitochondrial DNA studies, was found to come mostly from the Khoisan population.
The origins of the Coloured community stems from numerous interracial sexual unions between Western European males and Khoisan females in the Cape Colony from the 17th century onwards.
In KwaZulu-Natal, most Coloureds come from British and Zulu heritage, while Zimbabwean Coloureds come from Shona or Ndebele mixing with British and Afrikaner settlers. Griqua, on the other hand, are descendants of Khoisan and Afrikaner Trekboers. Despite these major differences, the fact that they draw parentage from more than one naturalised racial group means that they are coloured in the southern African context. Such people did not necessarily self-identify this way; some preferred to call themselves black or Khoisan or just South African. The history of racial segregation and labelling in South Africa and neighbouring countries has meant that the governments placed all such mixed race people in a certain relationship together. The imperial and apartheid governments categorized them as Coloureds. In addition, other ethnic groups also traditionally viewed them as a separate group.
During the apartheid era, in order to keep divisions and maintain a race-focused society, the government used the term Coloured to describe one of the four main racial groups identified by law: Blacks, Whites, Coloureds and Indians. (All four terms were capitalised in apartheid-era law.)
Many Griqua began to self-identify as Coloureds during the apartheid era. There were certain advantages in becoming classified as Coloured. For example, Coloureds did not have to carry a dompas (an identity document designed to limit the movements of the non-white populace), while the Griqua, who were seen as an indigenous African group, did.
Coloured people constitute a plurality of the population in the Western Cape (48.8%) and a large minority in the Northern Cape (40.3%) and Eastern Cape (8.3%) provinces. Most speak Afrikaans, while about twenty percent of Coloureds speak English as their mother tongue, mostly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. However, virtually all Cape Town Coloureds are bilingual. Some can comfortably codeswitch between Kaapse taal (a creolized dialect of Afrikaans spoken mostly in the Cape Flats) and suiwer Afrikaans (formal Afrikaans as used in schools and media), and South African English.
Coloured people played an important role in the struggle against apartheid and its predecessor policies. The African Political Organisation, established in 1902, had an exclusively Coloured membership; its leader Abdullah Abdurahman rallied Coloured political efforts for many years. Many Coloured people later joined the African National Congress and the United Democratic Front. Whether in these organisations or others, many Coloured people were active in the fight against apartheid.
The political rights of Coloured people varied by location and over time. In the 19th century they theoretically had similar rights to Whites in the Cape Colony (though income and property qualifications affected them disproportionately.) In the Transvaal Republic or the Orange Free State, they had few rights. Coloured members were elected to Cape Town's municipal authority (including, for many years, Abdurahman). The establishment of the Union of South Africa gave Coloured people the franchise, although by 1930 they were restricted to electing White representatives. They conducted frequent voting boycotts in protest. This may have helped the election of the National Party in 1948, as their apartheid programme intended to strip Coloured people of their remaining voting powers.
Coloured people were also subject to forced relocation. For instance, the government relocated Coloured from the multicultural Cape Town area of District Six, which was later bulldozed. Inhabitants were moved to racially designated sections of the metropolitan area on the Cape Flats. Additionally, under apartheid, Coloured people received educations inferior to that of Whites, It was however, better than that provided to Black South Africans.
J. G. Strijdom, known as the Lion of the North, worked to restrict Coloured rights. He removed their ability to exercise their franchise. Strijdom's government expanded the Senate's numbers from 48 to 89. All of the additional 41 members hailed from the National Party. It increased its representation in the Senate to 77 in total. The Appellate Division Quorum Bill increased the number of judges necessary for constitutional decisions in the Appeal Court from five to eleven. Strijdom, knowing that he had his two-thirds majority, held a joint sitting of parliament in May 1956. The entrenchment clause regarding the Coloured vote, known as the South African Act, was amended.
Coloureds were placed on a separate voters' roll, which could elect four whites to represent them in the House of Assembly. Two whites would be elected to the Cape Provincial Council, and the governor general could appoint one senator. There was a great deal of opposition, both black and white, to this. The Torch Commando was very prominent, while the Black Sash (white women, uniformly dressed, standing on street corners with placards) also made themselves heard.
Many Coloureds refused to register for the new voters' roll. The number of Coloured voters dropped dramatically. In the next election, only 50.2% of them voted. They had no interest in voting for white representatives—an activity which many of them saw as pointless.
Under the Population Registration Act, as amended, Coloureds were formally classified into various subgroups, including Cape Coloureds, Cape Malays and "other coloured". A portion of the small Chinese South African community was also classified as a coloured subgroup.
In 1958, the government established the Department of Coloured Affairs, followed in 1959 by the Union for Coloured Affairs. The latter had 27 members and served as an advisory link between the government and the Coloured people.
The 1964 Coloured Persons Representative Council turned out to be a constitutional hitch which never really got going. In 1969, the Coloureds elected forty onto the council to supplement the twenty nominated by the government, taking the total number to sixty.
Following the 1983 referendum, in which 66.3% of white voters supported the change, the Constitution was reformed to allow the Coloured and Asian minorities limited participation in separate and subordinate Houses in a tricameral Parliament. This was part of a change in which the Coloured minority was to be allowed limited rights, but the Black majority were to become citizens of independent homelands. These separate arrangements were removed by the negotiations which took place from 1990 to provide all South Africans with the vote.
During the 1994 all-race elections, many Coloured people voted for the white National Party, which had formerly oppressed them. The National Party recast itself as the New National Party, partly to attract non-White voters. This political alliance, often perplexing to outsiders, has sometimes been explained in terms of the common Afrikaans language of White and Coloured New National Party members, opposition to affirmative action programmes that might give preference to non-Coloured Black people, or old privileges (e.g., municipal jobs) that Coloured people feared giving up under African National Congress leadership.
Since then, Coloured identity politics has continued to be important in the Western Cape, particularly for opposition parties. They see the Western Cape, in particular, as a place where they might gain ground against the dominant African National Congress. The Democratic Alliance drew in some former New National Party voters and won considerable Coloured support. The New National Party collapsed in the 2004 elections. Coloured support aided the Democratic Alliance's victory in the 2006 Cape Town municipal elections.
Patricia de Lille, mayor of Cape Town and founder of the Independent Democrats, does not use the label Coloured to describe herself but would be considered a Coloured person by many. The Independent Democrats party sought the Coloured vote and gained significant ground in the municipal and local elections in 2006, particularly in districts with heavily Coloured constituencies in the Western Cape. The firebrand Peter Marais (formerly a provincial leader of the New National Party) has also sought to portray his New Labour Party as the political voice for Coloured people.
There has been substantial Coloured support for and membership in the African National Congress before, during and after the apartheid era: Ebrahim Rasool (previously Western Cape premier), Dipuo Peters, Beatrice Marshoff, Manne Dipico, John Schuurman and Allan Hendrickse have been noteworthy Coloured politicians affiliated with the African National Congress. The Democratic Alliance won control over the Western Cape during the 2009 National and Provincial Elections and has since brokered an alliance with the Independent Democrats. The Congress has had some success in winning Coloured votes, particularly among labour-affiliated and middle-class Coloured voters. Some Coloureds express distrust of the ANC with the comment, "not white enough under apartheid, and not black enough under the ANC." In the 2004 election, voter apathy was high in historically Coloured areas.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, around four in 100 South African marriages occur between members of South Africa's major ethnoracial groups, with trepidation toward interracial marriage polling far lower among black South Africans than among white South Africans. It is not known how many descendants of post-apartheid interracial relationships identify as Coloured or with the Coloured minority group.
The term Coloured is also used to describe persons of mixed race in Namibia, to refer to those of part Khoisan, part white descent. The Basters of Namibia constitute a separate ethnic group that are sometimes considered a sub-group of the Coloured population of that country. Under South African rule, the policies and laws of apartheid were extended to what was then called South West Africa, and the treatment of Namibian Coloureds was comparable to that of South African Coloureds.
The term Coloured or Goffal is also used in Zimbabwe, where, unlike South Africa and Namibia, most people of mixed race have African and European ancestry, being descended from the offspring of European men and Shona and Ndebele women; however some Coloured families descended from male Coloured migrants from South Africa who married local women. Under white minority rule in Rhodesia, Coloureds had more privileges than black Africans, including full voting rights, but still faced serious discrimination. The term Coloured is also used in Swaziland.Haya People
The Haya are an ethnic and linguistic group based in the Bukoba District, Muleba District and Karagwe District of Kagera Region in northwestern Tanzania, East Africa. In 1991 the Haya population was estimated to number 1,200,000. They speak the Haya language.
The Haya are said to have settled in the Kagera Region of north western Tanzania during the time of the Bantu expansion. They are believed to be some of the earliest inhabitants in the area to practice metal work which allowed them to create various new forms of pottery.
They were organized into small groups which were loosely affiliated with one another and organized in a system similar to feudalism with commoners and nobles as the main participants. With the arrival of the Europeans and christianity the region became famous for yielding the first African Roman Catholic Cardinal the late Cardinal Laurian Rugambwa also they valued formal education early compared to other tribes.
In 1978, the ancestral region to which the Haya belong was subject to an attempted annexation by the former Ugandan president Idi Amin Dada whose invasion of the Kagera region eventually lead to the toppling of his government by the Army of Tanzania.
The Haya people of Tanzania have been linked to one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time: the invention of steel. Archaeologist Peter Schmidt discovered through a literalist combination of archaeology and oral tradition that the Haya had been forging steel for around 2000 years.
This discovery was made accidentally while Schmidt was learning about the history of the Haya via their oral tradition. He was led to a tree which was said to rest on the spot of an ancestral furnace used to forge steel. A group of elders were later tasked with the challenge of recreating the forges.
At this time they were the only ones to remember the practice, which had fallen into disuse due in part to the abundance of steel flowing into the country from foreign sources. In spite of the lack of practice the elders were able to create a furnace using mud and grass which when burned provided the carbon needed to transform the iron into steel. Later investigation of the land yielded 13 other furnaces similar in design to the re-creation set up by the elders. This process is very similar to open hearth furnace steelmaking.
These furnaces were carbon-dated and were found to be as old as 2000 years. Steel of similar quality did not appear in Europe until several centuries later.Hehe People
The Hehe (Swahili collective: Wahehe) are an ethnic and linguistic group based in Iringa Region in south-central Tanzania, speaking the Bantu Hehe language.
Historically, they are famous for vanquishing a German expedition at Lugalo on 17 August 1891 and maintaining their resistance for seven years thereafter—a war that left the Hehe shattered, culminating in their leading chief, Mkwawa, shooting himself. In 2006, the Hehe population was estimated at 805,000, up from the just over 250,000 recorded in the 1957 census when they were the eighth largest tribe in Tanganyika.
The use of Wahehe as the group's designator can be traced to their war cry, and was originally employed by their adversaries. The Wahehe themselves adopted it only after the Germans and British applied it consistently, but by then the term had acquired connotations of prestige (keeping in mind, of course, the term's roots in Hehe warfare and the victory over the Germans of 1891).
With their armed opposition to German East Africa in mind, colonial descriptions would romanticise the Hehe as "these coarse, reserved mountain people a true warrior tribe who live only for war." Their power depended on the spear and on the disciplined force of their armed citizens. Even after firearms became more important the spear remained their chief weapon, for on the open plains the use of spears still had the advantage. The defense of a boma behind palisades or walls with rifles was not their strong point, tactics and a sudden mass spear attack was.
Military organization remained the most important part of Wahehe life and every adult male was a warrior. The youngest lived in the capital, Iringa, where semi-professional warriors trained them. By the 1890s the Hehe had an immediate following of 2,000 to 3,000 men, with another 20,000 men of fighting age who could be mobilized from their scattered homesteads that by 1800 were normally surrounded by large maize fields. It was only later when their military reputation alone was no longer enough and warfare was actually a threat, did they begin to consolidate their villages and begin to build their homes closer together. Only after the wars ended did they once again build further apart with each homestead ideally surrounded by their own fields, larger houses for their many wives were built and could be surrounded by an open courtyard.
While Iliffe considers the Wahehe state to have been unsophisticated, Lt. Nigmann considered the legal system, traditions, and customs to have been quite sophisticated. It is true, however, that all authority came from the chief's will and that conquered chiefdoms were not assimilated but were held by for force, brutality, and fear. Whether one considers the state to be unsophisticated or not, the state was at the same time successful and durable. A visitor it was repeatedly said, could sense an arrogant confidence that was not found elsewhere, and Hehe identity has survived all colonial pressures.
Women captured in war were given to important men, (some men having as many as ten to twenty) who then did almost all of the subsistence agriculture, carried water, and all building material, their housing being well insulated against the violent extremes of heat and cold. A child received his family name, (the praise name) and the types of forbidden food from the father. A Wahehe could not marry anyone with the same praise name and the same forbidden food, even if the relationship could not be traced, and could not marry anyone related through the female line. There was, however, a preference for marrying cross cousins. Most communities contained many households who were related to one another. Two cows and a bull were considered important parts of bride-wealth to be given for a wife.
Although judges (headmen) were subject to bribery (and at times quite willing to accept it), there was a recognized system of courts and law enforcement. Punishment remained fairly simple but had at least some variety. There were penalties of varied types, such as fines or penance, the death sentence, beatings, and the seldom used expulsion from the chiefdom. (excepting the death penalty, crippling or anything attacking the health of the individual, or any type of failing was unknown to the Wahehe.) The village headman was authorized for lighter cases, such as theft or other crimes against property, adultery, personal injury, etc., with the more difficult cases being sent further up the line in the direction of the 'sultan', especially those needing a test administrated by poison. All cases were presented orally and open to all. (Only trials of high treason against the sultan were held in secret.) Two male witnesses were thought sufficient for most 'normal' cases while it was thought that three to five were necessary with female witnesses.
There could be verdicts for betraying or offending the state or its leader, giving false witness, adultery, (one female witness was sufficient, with a fine of one to three head of cattle) incest (very seldom if ever used, since females were quite often married between 10 and 13 years of age and needed three to five witnesses), rape (only the victim was needed as a witness), murder, manslaughter, vendetta, theft, agricultural theft, receiving stolen goods, and swindling were all parts of the judicial concept and had penalties associated with them.
If a divorce took place, the husband was entitled to take all weaned children away from their mother and the mother's family was expected to return the bride-wealth. In spite of this, wives frequently obtained divorces, usually after they had already made arrangements with another man.
The state's strength and power lay in its warriors and their spears, which made it not only disciplined and victorious, but also provided unity and identity, allowing everyone to join in its impressive successes.Khoikhoi People
The Khoikhoi or Khoi, spelled Khoekhoe in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography, are the native pastoralist people of southwestern Africa. They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD. When European immigrants colonised the area after 1652, the Khoikhoi were practising extensive pastoral agriculture in the Cape region, with large herds of Nguni cattle. The European immigrants labelled them Hottentots, in imitation of the sound of the Khoekhoe language, but this term is today considered derogatory by some.
Archaeological evidence shows that the Khoikhoi entered South Africa from Botswana through two distinct routes—travelling west, skirting the Kalahari to the west coast, then down to the Cape, and travelling south-east out into the Highveld and then southwards to the south coast. Chiefly, the largest group of the Khoikhoi to remain as a group are the Namas.Kamba People
The Kamba or Wakamba people are a Bantu ethnic group who live in the semi-arid formerly Eastern Province of Kenya stretching east from Nairobi to Tsavo and north up to Embu, Kenya. This land is called Ukambani which is currently constituted by Makueni County, Kitui County and Machakos County.
Sources vary on whether they are the third, fourth or the fifth largest ethnic group in Kenya. They speak the Bantu Kikamba language as a mother tongue. The Kamba are predominantly based in Machakos, Kitui and Makueni Counties of Kenya. The total population of the Kamba stands at approximately 4.1 million. The Kamba are also called Akamba or Wakamba.
The Kamba are of Bantu origin. Like the closely related Kikuyu, Embu, Mbeere and Meru, they are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya. The exact place that the Kamba's ancestors migrated from after the initial Bantu expansion from West Africa is uncertain.
Some argue that the Kamba are a relatively new ethnic group, having developed from the merger of various Eastern Bantu communities in the vicinity of Mount Kilimanjaro around the 15th century. They are believed to have reached their present Mbooni Hills stronghold in the Machakos District of Kenya in the second half of the 17th century.
Other authorities suggest that they arrived in their present Mount Kenya area of inhabitation from earlier settlements further to the north and east, while others argue that the Kamba, along with their closely related Eastern Bantu neighbors the Kikuyu, Embu, Mbeere and Meru moved into Kenya from points further south.
The Akamba were originally hunter-gatherers, but later adopted agriculture due to the arability of the new land that they came to occupy.
Today, the Akamba are often found engaged in different professions: some are agriculturalists, others are traders, while others have taken up formal jobs. Barter trade with the Kikuyu, Maasai, Meru and Embu people in the interior and the Mijikenda and Arab people of the coast was also practised by the Akamba who straddled the eastern plains of Kenya.
Over time, the Akamba extended their commercial activity and wielded economic control across the central part of the land that was later to be known as Kenya (from the Kikamba, 'Kiinyaa', meaning 'the Ostrich Country'), from the Indian Ocean in the east to Lake Victoria in the west, and all the way up to Lake Turkana on the northern frontier. The Akamba traded in locally-produced goods such as cane beer, ivory, brass amulets, tools and weapons, millet, and cattle. The food obtained from trading helped offset shortages caused by droughts and famines.
They also traded in medicinal products known as 'Miti' (literally: plants), made from various parts of the numerous medicinal plants found on the Southeast African plains. The Akamba are still known for their fine work in wood carving, basketry and pottery. Their artistic inclination is evidenced in the sculpture work that is on display in many craft shops and galleries in the major cities and towns of Kenya.
In the mid-eighteenth century, a large number of Akamba pastoral groups moved eastwards from the Tsavo and Kibwezi areas to the coast. This migration was the result of extensive drought and lack of pasture for their cattle. They settled in the Mariakani, Kinango, Kwale, Mombasa West ( Changamwe and Chaani ) Mombasa North ( Kisauni ) areas of the coast of Kenya, creating the beginnings of urban settlement. They are still found in large numbers in these towns, and have been absorbed into the cultural, economic and political life of the modern-day Coast Province. Several notable businessmen and women, politicians, as well as professional men and women are direct descendants of these itinerant pastoralists.
The Kikuyu are a group of Bantu people inhabiting Southeast Africa. They are the largest ethnic group in Kenya and speak the Bantu Kikuyu language as a mother tongue. The term Kikuyu is the Swahili form of the proper name and pronunciation of Kikuyu, although group members refer to themselves as the Agĩkũyũ.
There are about 6,623,000 Gĩkũyũ people in Kenya (2009 I. Larsen BTL), equal to about 23% of the country's total population.
The Kikuyu are of Bantu origin. They constitute the single largest ethnic group in Kenya, and are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya. The exact place that the Kikuyu's ancestors migrated from after the initial Bantu expansion from West Africa is uncertain. Some authorities suggest that they arrived in their present Mount Kenya area of inhabitation from earlier settlements further to the north and east, while others argue that the Kikuyu, along with their closely related Eastern Bantu neighbors the Embu, Meru, Mbeere and Kamba moved into Kenya from points further north.
Since the proclamation of the Republic of Kenya, after the British colony of Kenya came to an end in 1963, the Agikuyu now form an integral part of the Kenyan nation. They continue to play their part as citizens of Kenya, helping to build their country. However, some Kenyans resent their incorrectly perceived superior economic status, a resentment sometimes vented through political violence, as happened in 1992, 1997 and 2007 Kenyan elections.
Gĩkũyũs speak the Gĩkũyũ language as their native tongue, which is a member of the Bantu subgroup of the Niger–Congo language family. Additionally, many speak Swahili and English as lingua franca, the two official languages of Kenya.
The Gĩkũyũ are closely related to the Embu, Meru, Mbeere, and Kamba people who also live around Mt. Kenya. Members of the Gĩkũyũ family from the greater Kiambu (commonly referred to as the Kabete) and Nyeri districts are closely related to the Maasai people due to intermarriage prior to colonisation. The Gĩkũyũ people between Thika and Mbeere are closely related to the Kamba people who speak a language similar to Gĩkũyũ. As a result, the Gĩkũyũ people that retain much of the original Gĩkũyũ heritage reside around Kirinyaga and Murang'a regions of Kenya. The Murang'a district is considered by many to be the cradle of the Gĩkũyũ people and as such, Gĩkũyũ's from the Murang'a area are considered to be of a purer breed.
Until 1888, the Agikuyu literature was purely expressed in folklore. Famous stories include The Maiden Who Was Sacrificed By Her Kin, The Lost Sister, The Four Young Warriors, The Girl who Cut the Hair of the N'jenge, and many more.
When the European missionaries arrived in the Agikuyu country in 1888, they learnt the Kikuyu language and started writing it using a modified Roman alphabet. The Kikuyu responded strongly to missionaries and European education. They had greater access to education and opportunities for involvement in the new money economy and political changes in their country. As a consequence, there are notable Kikuyu literature icons such as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Meja Mwangi. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's literary works include Caitani Mutharabaini (1981), Matigari(1986) and Murogi wa Kagogo(Wizard of the Crow (2006)) which is the largest known Kikuyu language novel having been translated into more than thirty languages．
Traditional Kikuyu music has existed for generations up to 1888, when the Agikuyu people encountered and adopted a new culture from the Europeans. Before 1888 and well into 1920s, Kikuyu music included Kibaata, Nduumo and Muthunguci. Today, Music and Dance are strong components of Kikuyu culture. There is a vigorous Kikuyu recording industry, for both popular and gospel music, in their pentatonic scale and western music styles. Popular Kikuyu musicians include Joseph Kamaru, DK Kamau, Wanganangu, HM, D'mathew, Peter Kiggia, Mike Rua and Esther Wahome.
Kikuyu cinema and film production are a very recent phenomenon among the Agikuyu. They have become popular only in the 21st century. In the 20th century, most of the Agikuyu consumed cinema and film produced in the west, particularly America's Hollywood. Popular Kikuyu film productions include comedies such as Machang'i series and Kihenjo series.
Typical Kikuyu food includes githeri (maize and beans), mukimo (mashed green peas and potatoes), irio (mashed dry beans, corn and potatoes), roast goat, beef, chicken and cooked green vegetables such as collards, spinach and carrots. Agikuyu people are also fond of nyama choma.
Although Gĩkũyũs historically adhered to indigenous faiths, most have today converted to Christianity.Meru People
The Meru, Amîîrú, or Ngaa people are a Bantu ethnic group that inhabit the Meru region of Kenya on the fertile lands of north and eastern slopes of Mount Kenya, in the former Eastern Province of Kenya. The name "Meru" refers to both the people and the region, which for many years was the only administrative unit. In 1992, the Greater Meru was divided into three administrative units: Meru Central, Meru North (Nyambene), and Meru South (Tharaka-Nithi). After the promulgation of a new constitution in Kenya on August 27, 2010, the Greater Meru was further re-defined and now consists of the twin counties of Tharaka-Nithi and Meru. The Greater Meru covers approximately 13,000 km2 (5,000 sq mi), stretching from the Thuci river, on the border with Embu County in the south, to the border with Isiolo County in the north.
The Ameru people comprise nine sections: the Igoji, Imenti, Tigania, Mitine, Igembe, Mwimbi, Muthambi, Chuka and Tharaka. The Tharaka live in the semi-arid part of the greater Meru and they, together with the Mwimbi, Muthambi and Chuka, form the Tharaka-Nithi County. The Ameru are however unrelated to the Wameru of northern Tanzania, other than both being avid farming Bantu communities.
The Ngaa people known as Meru speak the Kimîîrú language. Kimîîrú, Kikamba, Kiembu, Kimbeere, Kisii and Kikuyu share critical language characteristics. The Kimîîrú language is however not uniform across the Greater Meru but comprises several mutually intelligible dialects depending on the section from which the speaker originates. More importantly, each of the dialect is a reflection of previous migratory patterns, the level of intra-community interactions, and the influences of other adjacent Bantu, Nilotic and Cushitic communities. As a whole language scholars have demonstrated that the Kimîîru language exhibits much older Bantu characteristics in grammar and phonetic forms than the other neighbouring Bantu languages.
The historical and cultural artifacts of the Meru People are preserved at the Meru Museum, formerly the colonial DC's office located in Meru Town. The Njuri Ncheke Shrine at Nchiru is also gazetted as an heritage site and placed under the care of the National Museums of Kenya. The Shrine is accessible and open to the public most time of the year unless there are Njuri Ncheke activities at the site. Members of the Njuri Ncheke, though bound by a strict oath of secrecy, can also provide valuable and authoritative information and insights into the Meru traditions and culture dating back to the yore and transmitted through generations.
The Ameru wield a lot of political influence in Kenya mainly due to their astute and strategic political organization. The community has not produced a President for the Republic of Kenya so far. However, members of the community have always held some key and strategic positions in the governments of the day. In the early years of Kenya's independence, the Meru were in the Gikuyu-Embu-Meru Association GEMA, a political mobilization outfit formed during the reign of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. GEMA is no longer a strong entity, but since the advent of plural politics in Kenya in 1992, the Meru have largely voted with the Kikuyu and the Embu in all subsequent presidential elections.
In the non-presidential election, most constituencies in the Greater Meru vote in candidates based more on their individual merit than on the basis of the sponsoring political party. This particularly manifested itself in the general elections of 4 March 2013 where the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) captured two seats (hon. Cyprian Kubai Iringo MP for Igembe Central and Hon. Mpuru Aburi MP for Tigania East) in Meru County despite the predominance of the Jubilee Coalition in the Mt. Kenya region. The elections also saw the historic election of Hon. Rahim Dawood, a Meru of Asian Origin to represent Imenti North Constituecy and Hon. Kinoti Gatobu, a 26 year old independent candidate elected to represent Buuri constituency. Subsequent to the same elections, Prof. Kithure Kindiki, an International Constitutional Lawyer and a first time Senator (Tharaka-Nithi County) became the Majority Leader in the Senate.Rendille People
The Rendille (also known as Rendille, Reendile, Rendili, Randali, Randile and Randille) are a Cushitic-speaking ethnic group inhabiting the northern Eastern Province of Kenya. The ethnonym Rendille translates as "Holders of the Stick of God".
The Rendille are believed to have originally migrated down into the Great Lakes area from Ethiopia in the more northerly Horn region, following southward population expansions by the Oromo and later the Somali.
Traditionally, they are nomadic pastoralists, tending camels, sheep, goats and cattle. The camels are generally kept in the northern part of their territory and the cattle in the southern section.
The first ethnological study of the Rendille was published at the turn of the 20th century by William A. Chanler. It described the unmixed Rendille that his party encountered as tall, slender and reddish-brown in complexion, with soft, straight hair and narrow facial features. Chanler additionally remarked that many of the Rendille possessed "fierce" blue eyes, a physical peculiarity that was also later noted by Augustus Henry Keane (1900), John Scott Keltie (1904) and John Henry Patterson (1909).
The Rendille speak the Rendille language as a mother tongue (also known as Rendile or Randile). It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family.
Some Rendille also use English or Swahili as working languages for communication with other populations.
The Ariaal sub-group of the Rendille, who are of mixed Nilotic and Cushitic descent, speak the Nilo-Saharan Samburu language of the Samburu Nilotes with whom they cohabit.
In terms of creed, many Rendille practice a traditional religion centered on the worship of Waaq/Wakh. In the related Oromo culture, Waaq denotes the single god of the early pre-Abrahamic, montheistic faith believed to have been adhered to by Cushitic groups.Kalenjin People
The Kalenjin are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting the Rift Valley Province in Kenya. They are estimated to number a little over 4.9 million individuals as per the Kenyan 2009 census numbers.
The Kalenjin are believed to have migrated to their present location from the South Sudan-Western around 2,000 years ago.
Until the early 1950s, the Kenyan peoples now known as the Kalenjin did not have a common name; they were usually referred to as the 'Nandi-speaking tribes' by scholars and colonial administration officials, a practice that ended immediately following the adoption of the collective name 'Kalenjin' (cf. Evans-Pritchard 1965)."
In the late 1940s and the early 1950s, several "Nandi-speaking" peoples united to assume the name 'Kalenjin', an expression meaning I say (to you). Due to this effort, the peoples were transformed into a major ethnic group in Kenya. The adoption of the name Kalenjin also involved a standardisation of the different dialects (Nandi,Markweta,Tugen Pogot, Keiyo, Kipsigis, and Sabaot/Sabiny) of the Kalenjin language.
According to the Kenya's 2009 census, The Kalenjin has a population of 4,967,328 people making it the third largest group in Kenya after the Kikuyu, and the Luhya.
The Kalenjin speak Kalenjin languages as a mother tongue. They belong to the Nilo-Saharan family.
Kalenjin also encompasses languages spoken in Tanzania (e.g. Akie) and Uganda (e.g. Kupsabiny). Due to this even broader use of the term 'Kalenjin', it is common practice in linguistic literature to refer to the languages of the Kenyan Kalenjin peoples as the Nandi languages.
As with some Bantu groups, the Kalenjin and other Nilotes in the Great Lakes region have through interaction adopted many customs and practices from neighbouring Southern Cushitic groups. The latter include the age set system of social organisation, circumcision, and vocabulary terms.
In terms of subsistence modes, the Kalenjin have also traditionally practised livestock herding.
The Kalenjin have been called by some "the running tribe." Since the mid-1960s, Kenyan men have earned the largest share of major honours in international athletics (track and field) at distances from 800 meters to the marathon; the vast majority of these Kenyan running stars have been Kalenjin. From 1980 on, about 40% of the top honours available to men in international athletics at these distances (Olympic medals, World Championships medals, and World Cross Country Championships honours) have been earned by Kalenjin. In recent years, Kenyan women have become a major presence in international athletics at the distances; most of these women are also Kalenjin. Amby Burfoot of Runner's World stated that the odds of Kenya achieving the success they did at the 1988 Olympics were below 1: 160 billion. Kenya had an even more successful Olympics in 2008, documented in the book More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser.
A number of theories explaining the unusual athletic prowess among people from the tribe have been proposed. These include many explanations that apply equally well to other Kenyans or people living elsewhere in the world who are not disproportionately successful athletes, such as that they run to school every day, that they live at relatively high altitude, and that the prize money from races is large compared to typical yearly earnings. NPR advanced two explanations that apply more narrowly to the tribe. One is that by common genetic inheritance, many tribe members have unusually thin ankles and calves, significantly improving the physical dynamics of running. The other is that the tribe has historically conducted both male and female circumcisions in a ritual where screaming out in pain is taboo, engendering a certain kind of psychological resilience and tolerance of pain which is useful in race discipline.Embu People
The Embu are a Bantu people inhabiting Embu county in Kenya. They speak the Bantu Embu language as a mother tongue. To the south of Embu are to be found their cousins, the Mbeere people. In essence Embu county encompasses the ethnic Kiembu dialect, from whom the Embu county's name derives, and the Kimbere dialect spoken by their Mbeere conterparts who inhabit the lower reaches of the county. Historically, both were just referred to as the Embu people. To the east, Embu neighbours are the closely related Kikuyu in Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Kiambu, Muranga and Nyandarua counties. The Meru people border the Embu to the East.
The Embu are of Bantu origin. They are concentrated in the vicinity of Mount Kenya. Along with their closely related Eastern Bantu neighbors the Kikuyu, Meru, Mbeere and Kamba the Embu are believed to have entered their present area of inhabitation from points further south, where they had settled early on after the initial Bantu expansion from West Africa.
The migration to Mount Kenya was perhaps due to conflicts there. It is believed that they migrated as far as the Kenyan Coast, since the Meru elders refer to Mpwa (Pwani or Coast) as their origin. The conflicts there forced them to retreat northeast to the interior of Kenya, and they settled by the slopes of Mount Kenya. They were to refer to this location as the place of the Lord, the owner of the snow ("Nyaga") or ("Njeru" meaning white) — hence the name "Mwenenyaga" or "Mwenenjeru".
Embu mythology claims that the Embu people originated from Mbui Njeru in the interior of Embu, close to Runyenjes town. The mythology claims that God (Ngai) created Mwenendega and gave him a beautiful wife by the famous Mbui Njeru waterfall — hence her name "Ciurunji". The couple was blessed with wealth, and their descendants populated the rest of Embu.
The Embu are mainly subsistent who rear cows, goats and sheep alongside a wide array of food crops. A man's wealth was ascribed to the number of wives and children he had that would be actively engaged in rearing his flock and tending the livestock. For example, Senior Chief Muruatetu, probably one of the most famous of the Aembu people had sixteen wives and many children. He was among senior chiefs for the colonial government and independent Kenya. An entire village bears his name, and a school is named after him.
The Embu were fierce warriors who, although rarely raiding other tribes, always stood firm in defence of their territory and people. Many occasions are on record where the Embu had to fiercely repulse Kamba and even the dreaded Maasai invasions. The fact that the tribe was and continues to have a relatively lower population than their Meru and Kikuyu neighbours does not diminish their active involvement in the clamor for independence from British Colonialism. They Embu actively rose against the British in the Mau Mau fight for Kenya's independence alongside the Kikuyu thus entrenching them in the history of Kenya.
A magnificent photo of Embu warriors hangs at the Izaak Walton Inn in Embu, named after Izaak Walton, an English gentleman who was enraptured by the fresh trout available in the fresh rivers flowing through Embu. The Ruvingaci and Kavingaci Rivers border Embu town to the west and the east respectively and are a key source of domestic water to many Embu families.
There has been continued efforts in engaging young people from this area in sporting activities alongside award winning world athletic champions who spend considerable time training in the high altitude terrain surrounding the slopes of Mt Kenya. These have gone on to win prestigious awards in the Olympics and competitive world marathons.
The district plays host to the renowned Mt. Kenya to the north. This remains an everlasting tourism attraction with hordes of foreigners and local people flocking to its slopes to savor the allure of its beauty and majesty. Numerous expeditions set out each year to scale the slopes to the mountain top. It is an enthralling experience, especially watching the sun rise in the horizons in the early morning from the highest Batian mountain peak. However, this climb is no mean achievement, and it calls for great stamina and resilience. Legend has it that one man Munyao did scale the mountain to the peak and hoisted the national flag during the independence day on 12 December 1963.
Other attractions in the region are the huge Karue hill towering high along the Embu-Meru highway. It's a magnificent view, made of a huge crested rock, at the top of which has grown two unique eucalyptus trees. Lovers are known to savour the early intimacies of their love by basking in the twilight light of the evening at the hilltop. From such a bird's eye view, one has a widespread view of far reaches of the entire of Embu. Nearby to this hill are two magnificent waterfalls close together which color the sky white as their waters fall down, then marry to form one big Ena river that then meanders downstream to encircle the Karue hill. To climax the scenery is the renowned Kirimiri hill nearby. Though not open for tourism, it is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Embu is home to Mwea National Reserve.A destination for the nature lovers. Best known for the diversity of bird species in the reserve.Ancient caves are also found in Embu, commonly referred to as 'Ngurunga ya Ngai' by the Embu natives.
Much more abounds to keep the most eager tourist and visitor enthralled, not least the Embu people themselves who carry about their daily life with a deep sense of filial attachment to each other. They are a hospitable people, always welcoming to visitors and eager to help. This has endeared them to their neighbours and to strangers from far.
Embu girls are known to make remarkable wives and mothers, while the men treat their wives with such respect and never ending love that hardly ever is family breakdown a subject of deliberation. For long, Kikuyu, Meru and Kamba men have come to get brides from Embu, while the Embu men enjoy high regard from marriageable girls in the same tribes. With the advent of Kenya nationalism, this high regard has permeated to the entire nation, and now the Embu form one respected unit of the Kenyan social fabric.Samburu People
The Samburu are a Nilotic people of north-central Kenya that are related to but distinct from the Maasai. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. The name they use for themselves is Lokop or Loikop, a term which may have a variety of meanings which Samburu themselves do not agree on. Many assert that it refers to them as "owners of the land" ("lo" refers to ownership, "nkop" is land) though others present a very different interpretation of the term. The Samburu speak Samburu, which is a Nilo-Saharan language. There are many game parks in the area, one of the most well known is Samburu National Reserve.
They live north of the equator in Samburu District, an area roughly 21,000 square kilometres (8,108 sq mi). Its landscape is one of great diversity and beauty. It includes landscapes ranging from forest at high altitudes, to open plains to desert or near desert. The main highland area is the Leroghi plateau (known in Samburu as Ldonyo, the Mountain), at about 1,600–2,400 metres (5,200–7,900 ft) above sea level. The lowlands (Lpurkel)are hot and dry, with acacia scrub the primary vegetation.
Before and a few years after independence the area north of the equator was called the Northern Frontier District (NFD). Samburu district was once a large part of the NFD. Only government officials were allowed to enter and it was closed to foreigners of both European and African descent. A special permit issued by the administration was required to enter the NFD. Even today Samburu is relatively remote, although highland areas can be reached fairly easily by public transport. Many areas of the lowlands remain without good roads or public services.
Samburu have been widely portrayed in popular culture, ranging from Hollywood movies, major television commercials, and mainstream journalism. Such portrayals make good use of Samburu’s colorful cultural traditions, but sometimes at the expense of accuracy. One of the earlier film appearances by Samburu was in the 1953 John Ford classic Mogambo, in which they served as background for stars such as Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner.
In the 1990s, 300 Samburu travelled to South Africa to play opposite Kevin Bacon in the basketball comedy The Air Up There, in which Samburu are portrayed as a group called “The Wonaabe” whose prince is a potential hoops star who would propel Bacon to a college head coaching job. Sometimes Samburu extras are used to portray members of the closely related, but better known, Maasai ethnic group as in the film The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The 2005 film The White Masai—about a Swiss woman falling in love with a Samburu man--similarly conflates the two ethnic groups, mainly because the authors and directors believed that no one would have heard of Samburu. Dancing Samburu were included in a MasterCard commercial. Samburu runners were famously misportrayed in a late 1980s Nike commercial, in which a Samburu murran’s words were translated into English as the Nike slogan “Just Do It.” This was corrected by anthropologist Lee Cronk, who seeing the commercial alerted Nike and the media that the Samburu murran was actually saying; “I don’t want these. Give me big shoes.” Nike, in explaining the error admitted to having improvised the dialogue and stated “we thought nobody in America would know what he said.
A similar lack of understanding of both traditions and cultural dynamics is sometimes exhibited in misrepresentations by mainstream media who write articles in popular news outlets after only a short time among Samburu. For instance, CNN recently portrayed the Samburu practice of young men giving a large number of beads to a particular girl as tantamount to rape, and erroneously stated that no research exists on the tradition despite the fact that anthropological portrayals based on long term studies show it to be largely akin to the U.S. practice of “going steady.” In a 2009 article MSNBC took readers on a tour through imaginary places purported to be in Samburu District, while asserting that ethnic conflict between Samburu and the neighboring Pokot was the result of both sides starving because they had more cattle than the rangelands could support, although the reporter did not indicate how having too many cattle could make people starve.
The Masalit are a nation of people of Darfur in western Sudan and Wadai in eastern Chad. They speak Masalit, a Nilo-Saharan language of the Maba group. They numbered about 250,000 in 1983.
Between 1884 and 1921 they established a state called Dar Masalit.The Masalit are well known for their Muslim piety.
The Hutu /ˈhuːtuː/, also known as the Abahutu, is an ethnic group in Central Africa. They mainly live in Rwanda, Burundi, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they form one of the principal population divisions alongside the Tutsi and the Twa.
The Hutu is the largest of the four main population divisions in Burundi and Rwanda. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 84% of Rwandans and 85% of Burundians are Hutu, with Tutsis the next largest ethnic group at 15% and 14% of residents in Rwanda and Burundi, respectively.
The Twa pygmies, the smallest of the two countries' principal populations, also share language and culture with the Hutu and Tutsi. However, they are distinguished by a considerably shorter stature.
The Hutu are believed to have first emigrated to Central Africa from West Africa in the great Bantu expansion. Various theories have emerged to explain the purported physical differences between them and their fellow Bantu-speaking neighbors, the Tutsi. One such thesis, largely based on oral tradition, posits that the Tutsi experienced some admixture with or were partially descended from migrants of Caucasoid stock, who usually were said to have arrived in the Great Lakes region from the Horn of Africa and/or North Africa. These pastoralists were then reckoned to have established aristocracies over the sedentary Hutu and Twa. Through intermarriage with the local Bantus, the herders were gradually assimilated culturally, linguistically and racially.
An alternate theory is that the Hutu and Tutsi originally belonged to the same Bantu population, but were artificially divided by German and then Belgian colonists so that the Tutsi minority could serve as local overseers for Berlin and Brussels. The latter view has received support among proponents of Rwandan national unity, but has been criticized as an attempt at historical revisionism.
Still others suggest that the two groups are related but not identical, and that differences between them were exacerbated by Europeans, or by a gradual, natural split, as those who owned cattle became known as Tutsi and those who did not became Hutu. Mahmood Mamdani states that the Belgian colonial power designated people as Tutsi or Hutu on the basis of cattle ownership, physical measurements and church records.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether the Hutu and Tutsi are really separate groups or not - the government of Rwanda seems to no longer use any such distinction.
Hutus speak Rwanda-Rundi as their native tongue, which is a member of the Bantu subgroup of the Niger–Congo language family. Rwanda-Rundi is subdivided into the Kinyarwanda and Kirundi dialects, which have been standardized as official languages of Rwanda and Burundi respectively. It is also spoken as a mother tongue by the Tutsi and Twa.
Additionally, many Hutu speak French, the other official language of Rwanda and Burundi, as a lingua franca.Tutsi People
The Tutsi (/ˈtʊtsi/; Rwanda-Rundi pronunciation: [tūtsī]), or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group inhabiting the African Great Lakes region. Historically, they were often referred to as the Watutsi, Watusi, or the Wahuma. The Tutsi form a subgroup of the Banyarwanda and the Barundi peoples, who reside primarily in Rwanda and Burundi, but with significant populations also found in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.
They are the second largest population division among the three largest groups in Rwanda and Burundi, the other two being the Hutu (largest) and the Twa (smallest). Small numbers of Hema, Kiga and Furiiru people also live near the Tutsi in Rwanda. The Northern Tutsi that reside in Rwanda are called Ruguru (Banyaruguru), while southern Tutsi that live in Burundi are known as Hima, and the Tutsi that inhabit the Kivu plateau in the Congo go by Banyamulenge.
The definitions of "Hutu" and "Tutsi" people may have changed through time and location. Social structures were not stable throughout Rwanda, even during colonial times under the Belgian rule. The Tutsi aristocracy or elite was distinguished from Tutsi commoners, and wealthy Hutu were often indistinguishable from upper-class Tutsi.
When the European colonists conducted censuses, they wanted to identify the people throughout Rwanda-Burundi according to a simple classification scheme. They defined "Tutsi" as anyone owning more than ten cows (a sign of wealth) or with the physical feature of a longer nose, or longer neck, commonly associated with the Tutsi.
The Europeans believed that some Tutsis had facial characteristics that were generally atypical of other Bantus. They sought to explain these purported divergent physical traits by postulating admixture with or partial descent from migrants of Caucasoid stock, who usually were said to have arrived in the Great Lakes region from the Horn of Africa and/or North Africa.
By contrast, the Europeans considered the majority Hutu to be characteristic Bantu people of Central African origin.
The Tutsi have lived in the areas where they are for at the very least hundreds of years, leading to considerable intermarriage with the Bantu / Hutu people in the area. Due to the history of intermingling and intermarrying of Hutus and Tutsis, ethnographers and historians have lately come to agree that Hutu and Tutsis cannot be properly called distinct ethnic groups.
Tutsis speak Rwanda-Rundi as their native tongue, which is a member of the Bantu subgroup of the Niger–Congo language family. Rwanda-Rundi is subdivided into the Kinyarwanda and Kirundi dialects, which have been standardized as official languages of Burundi and Rwanda. It is also spoken as a mother tongue by the Hutu and Twa. Additionally, many Tutsis speak French, the third official language of Rwanda and Burundi, as their lingua franca. The Hima speak the same language, but call their language Hima.
In the Rwanda territory, from the 15th century until 1961, the Tutsi were ruled by a king (the mwami). Belgium abolished the monarchy in response to Hutu activism, following the national referendum that led to independence. By contrast, in the northwestern part of the country (predominantly Hutu), large regional landholders shared power, similar to Bugandan society (in what is now Uganda).
Little difference can be ascertained between the cultures of the Tutsi and Hutu; both groups speak the same Bantu language. The rate of intermarriage between the two groups were traditionally very high, and relations were amicable until the 20th century. Many scholars have concluded that the determination of Tutsi was and is mainly an expression of class or caste, rather than ethnicity.
As noted above, DNA studies show clearly that the peoples are more closely related to each other than to any other. Differences arose due to social constructs, which create greater differences between the groups. During the 1980s, school principals reported that, although secondary school admissions were proportional to the groups within the country and were made by competition within ethnic groups (in accordance with quotas mandated by the Habyarimana government), the students of Tutsi origin (14% of intake) comprised nearly 50% of graduates, on average. This report provoked accusations of tribal favoritism.Berber People
The Berbers are the ethnicity indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are distributed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. Historically they spoke Berber languages, which together form the "Berber branch" of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large portion of Berbers have spoken varieties of Maghrebi Arabic, either by choice or obligation. Foreign languages like French and Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia in some formal contexts such as higher education or business.
Today, most of the Berber people live in Northern African countries such as Algeria and Morocco, a large amount of Berber population is also found in Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, as well as large migrant communities living in France, Turkey and other countries of Europe.
The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not a homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of phenotypes, societies and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people could be their Berber language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history. Essentially, about ten thousand years ago a population wave from the near East swept over North Africa, bringing in gracile Mediterranean people in the Capsian era. A later wave of immigration occurred in the Neolithic when the expanding farmers from the near east ploughed their way across North Africa, some leaving artwork in the central Sahara to mark their passage. As far as DNA studies can tell, the Arab invasions that converted North Africans to Islam made virtually no impact to the population; essentially they converted the local population and didn’t replace them. There was only a trace contribution made to North Africa by Europe during the Barbary slavery era, but quite a significant amount of sub Saharan maternal ancestry was added. The modern North African is mainly Eurasian in ancestry, and cluster with Europeans and west Asians.
Linguistically speaking, there are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa. The number of ethnic Berbers (including non-Berber speakers) is far greater, as it is known that a large part of the Berbers have acquired other languages, over the course of many decades or centuries, and no longer speak Berber today.
Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "free and noble men". The word has probably an ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for some of the Berbers, "Mazices".
Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masinissa, king Jugurtha, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117. Dihya or Kahina was a female Berber religious and military leader who led a fierce Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in North-West Africa. Kusaila was a seventh-century leader of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and head of the Sanhadja confederation.
Famous Berbers of the Middle Ages include Yusuf ibn Tashfin, king of the Berber Almoravid empire; Tariq ibn Ziyad the general who conquered Hispania; Abbas Ibn Firnas, a prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation; Ibn Battuta, a medieval explorer who traveled the longest known distances in antiquity; and Estevanico, an early explorer of the Americas. Well-known modern Berbers in Europe include Zinedine Zidane, a French-born international football star of Algerian Kabyle descent, Loreen the Swedish-born winner of Eurovision 2012 and Ibrahim Afellay, a Dutch-born football player of Moroccan Riffian descent.
The name Berber appeared for the first time after the end of the Roman Empire. The use of the term Berber spread in the period following the arrival of the Vandals during their major invasions. A history by a Roman consul in Africa made the first reference of the term "barbarian" to describe Numidia. Muslim historians, some time after, also mentioned the Berbers. The English term was introduced in the nineteenth century, replacing the earlier Barbary, a loan from Arabic. Its ultimate etymological identity with barbarian is uncertain, but the Arabic word has clearly been treated as identical with Latin barbaria, Byzantine Greek βαρβαρία "land of barbarians" since the Middle Ages.
For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg which is the translation of biblical ancestor Dedan son of Sheba in the Targoum. According to Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant "free men", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages. It also has a cognate in the Tuareg word "amajegh", meaning "noble". This term is common in Morocco, especially among Central Atlas, Rifian and Shilah speakers in 1980, but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle (Kabyle comes from Arabic: tribal confederation) or Chaoui, is more often used instead in Algeria.
The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found. Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh. The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called a few centuries after in Greek Mazyes by Hektaios and Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called after that the "Mazaces" and "Mazax" in Latin sources, and related to the later Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and perhaps foreign renditions to the name used by the Berbers in general for themselves, Imazighen.
Traditionally, men take care of livestock. They migrate by following the natural cycle of grazing, and seeking water and shelter. They are thus assured with an abundance of wool, cotton and plants used for dyeing. For their part, women look after the family and handicrafts - first for their personal use, and secondly for sale in the souqs in their locality. The Berber tribes traditionally weave kilims. The tapestry maintains the traditional appearance and distinctiveness of the region of origin of each tribe, which has in effect its own repertoire of drawings. The textile of plain weave is represented by a wide variety of stripes, and more rarely by geometrical patterns such as triangles and diamonds. Additional decorations such as sequins or fringes, are typical of Berber weave in Morocco. The nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Berbers is very suitable for weaving kilims. The customs and traditions differ from one region to another.
The social structure of the Berbers is tribal. A leader is appointed to command the tribe. In the Middle Ages, many women had the power to govern, such as Kahina and Tazoughert Fatma in Aurès, Tin Hinan in Hoggar, Chemci in Aït Iraten, Fatma Tazoughert in the Aurès. Lalla Fatma N'Soumer was a Berber woman in Kabylie who fought against the French.
The majority of Berber tribes currently have men as heads of the tribe. In Algeria, the el Kseur platform in Kabylie gives tribes the right to fine criminal offenders. In areas of Chaoui, tribal leaders enact sanctions against criminals. The Tuareg have a king who decides the fate of the tribe and is known as Amenokal. It is a very hierarchical society. The Mozabites are governed by the spiritual leaders of Ibadism. The Mozabites lead communal lives. During the crisis of Berriane, the heads of each tribe resolved the problem and began talks to end the crisis between the Maliki and Ibadite movements. In marriages, the man selects the woman, and depending on the tribe, the family often makes the decision. In comparison, in the Tuareg culture, the woman chooses her future husband. The rites of marriage are different for each tribe. Families are either patriarchal or matriarchal, according to the tribe.