Tanzania: A Way of Life Comes to an End
One of the world’s last tribes of hunter-gatherers is about to vanish. They’ll soon go the way of the Dodo and the Brontosaurus.
The Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania is already down to fewer than 1,500 people. During their 50,000 year history they’ve survived the beginning of agriculture, guns, diseases, missionaries, poachers, anthropologists, conflicts with other tribes and gawking tourists. But it looks like they’ve finally met their match.
The Tanzanian government has leased the Hadzabe tribal lands — about 2,500 square miles near the Serengeti Plain — to the Royal Family from the United Arab Emirates. The sheiks and VIPs were looking for a new personal playground to replace their current playground: a nearby hunting area which has become “too crowded” and “inconvenient.” After taking a helicopter tour of the area, the Royal Family has chosen the Hadzabe tribal territory as their new personal fiefdom.
A Tanzanian government official described the Hadzabe as “backward” and said they'd be better off with the new roads and schools and other projects that the UAE will be “compensating” them with. Tribal leaders say they want to modernize, but at their own pace, combining modernization with their traditional way of life, instead of having the rug pulled out from under them by their own government.
One of their leaders said “If they are going to come here, we definitely will all perish. Our history will die, and the Hadzabe will be swept off the face of the world. We are very much afraid.”
The UAE Royal Family has a degree of wealth and splendor that most people couldn’t even comprehend. They make most American millionaires look poor. And now one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes has to get out of the way so that one of the world’s wealthiest families can use their land for their own personal playground.
This is beyond sick. When you combine that story with this — something’s wrong.