The Hadza are hunter-gatherers who live along the shores of Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanzania; their lifestyle and customs have changed little or at all over the last 10,000 years.
They live in small clans of 20-30 individuals and they are not sedentary but move constantly in search of resources on whom they feed.
The organisation of the Hadza society is not complex at all: they do not recognise any leader and no member of the community can boast a particular power, there are no social obligations and they do not celebrate rites, i.e. no religious celebrations, birthday anniversaries, funerals or weddings.
The Hadza are the most ancient and primitive community of Tanzania, and their way of living is like that of primitive men, before the birth of agriculture.
The concept of wealth is unknown to the Hadza, their assets are limited to a few items and tools: a pot, a blanket, a container for water and honey and hunting weapons.
The hunted prey and food resources in general are shared by the entire clan, which is precisely why a clan consists of maximum 30 members: a larger clan would not be able to procure enough food from the hunted preys, which are usually baby gazelles or baboons.
Religious rituals are virtually non-existent: the Hadza do not have any belief about afterlife and, therefore, there are neither shamans and medicine men, nor any special funeral rite, but corpses are generally buried in a hole dug into the ground, and sometimes they are left in the open for spotted hyenas to eat and after it they move their camp elsewhere.
The Hadza do not believe in any divinity but they believe in a presence that manifests itself in the sun, they practice the ancestors’ worship and believe in their presence under the form of ghosts.
The Hadza have a very primitive approach to marriage: there are no wedding ceremonies, but a couple that sleeps next to each other at the same fire for a few nights may eventually refer to themselves as married.
Village life is extremely simple, primitive and unorganised: in the dry season, May through October, the Hadza do not build any village but just sleep in the open air on a mat made with the skin of animals, and surround the area with bonfires to keep the animals away.
In this way they can easily move in search of new areas for hunting or gathering; the “camp” is also moved when a hunted prey is too big to be carried to the place where the group is camped, this happens, for example, when they hunt a buffalo or find the corpse of big animals, such as an elephant or a giraffe.
The Hadza build simple huts or find shelter in caves or crevices only during the rainy season.
The most important Hadza ritual is the epeme dance, that takes place on moonless nights: the women sing while the men, one at a time, don a feathered headdress and tie bells around their ankles and strut about, stomping their right foot in time with the singing. Supposedly, on epeme nights, ancestors emerge from the bushes and join the dancing.
The life of this people is very tough in many ways; there is no school education or medical care, and women simply give birth just squatting in the bushes.
Life expectancy is very low: about a fifth of all babies die within their first year and nearly half of all the children do not make it to the age of 15, they have to cope with extreme heat and frequent thirst and swarming tsetse flies and malaria-laced mosquitoes.