According to statistics from 2019, Africa has more than 54 countries and boasts over 1.3 billion people. There are over 3000 tribes on the African continent. Amongst this number, we single out eight different tribes which have kept their culture alive over the centuries.
Africa has existed for centuries and some African tribes have existed for almost as long as Africa has been in existence. Some of the longest-lasting tribes in Africa have been compiled in this article.
The Himba Tribe.
Their red matted braids characterize the people of the Himba tribe; an African tribe. They are made meticulously by adding animal fat, ash, and ground ochre (this is a local stone found in Namibia).
Otjize is a mixture made of butter, fat, and red ochre. Women often smear their bodies with the ochre mixture and bond over this activity. It is also applied to their hair. The mixture makes their bodies glow with beauty.
The Himba people are called OmuHimba for one person or OvaHimba for more than one. The Himba people group have a population of 50,000 people and resides in the Kunene region in Namibia.
They are also found on the other side of the Kunene River in southern Angola. The Himba tribe are hunter-gatherers. They date back to the 16th century. It is amazing that they still exist today.
The Dogan Tribe
The Dogan tribe is located in Mali. They are one of the African tribes that have a great history and date back to 3200BC. The Dogan people are descendants of Egypt and are known for their astronomical knowledge and wisdom. They have knowledge of Sirius, which the Egyptians believed to be the brightest star in the sky.
Dogan natives got this info before scientists began researching outer space. They are known for their masks, dances, and architecture. They number about 400,000 to 800,000 people in Mali.
A huge number of the Dogan tribe are animists and believe that there is a synergy between the spiritual world of the gods and the ancestors, and the plants, animals, and people. Some have adopted Christianity and Islam. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Mali.
The Turkana Tribe
There are between 400,000 and 800,000 Dogon people in this tribe.
They are from Mali. The Turkana people are located in Kenya’s Turkana District. They belong to a larger group of Nilotic tribes that includes the Maasai and Samburu.
Their history began in Uganda and then migrated to Kenya over 400 years ago. They are survivors who inhabit the dry area of Northwest Kenya. They sometimes have temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Karo Tribe
They are one of the smallest tribes in Africa, with a population range of 1000 to 2000. The Karo tribe is located in the Lower Omo Valley in the southern part of Ethiopia. They are well-known for their body art.
The people of this tribe often paint their bodies with a mix of yellow mineral rock, white chalk, and charcoal. They use these to express their beauty.
The Karamojong Tribe
The Karamojong have lived in the northeastern region of Uganda for more than 400 years.
They take pride in their heritage and do not conform to modern standards, nor do they put on any apparel.
They wore ornate beaded necklaces and shawls as part of their traditional attire.
The Maasai Tribe
They are one of the most popular African tribes and live in the northern, central, and southern parts of Kenya and Tanzania. There are more than one million of them, a tribe of warriors who trace their origins from Sudan to Kenya and Tanzania, close to the Great Rift Valley.
They are nomadic in nature and prefer to stay in smaller homesteads. Natives of the Maasai build their lives around their cattle. They believe that the cattle are gifts from their god, Ngai. The Maasai use cattle to measure their wealth. They even drink the blood of cattle to sustain their lives.
The Tuareg Tribe
This is one of the few African tribes that are distinct. Some call them the Tuareg desert warriors. They dwell in the Sahara desert in Niger, Algeria, Mali, and Libya. They practice Islam. Women traditionally wear hijabs, as is common in Muslim society.
The Tuareg men wear a veil as early as age 25. This signifies that they have become adults and are ready for marriage. The Tuareg read Arabic and speak Hausa. Their main language is Tamasheq. This falls under the Berber language group and is one of the oldest languages in the world.
The Wodaabe Tribe
This tribe is located in the countries of Niger and Chad. They are well-known for the tradition of Gerewol. This tradition is a festival where the men compete for love. They do this by painting their faces with bright colors.
They wear elaborate clothing and perform a series of dance routines that will help attract village maidens. The dance goes on for hours and they perform in front of female judges; who help to choose the men that the maidens believe are the most handsome.