Africa is a home to many ethnic groups. Some local tribes open the doors of their dwellings to tell more about their rich culture and traditions.
The most numerous group, Owambo people, represents almost half of Namibia’s total population. The Owambo live mostly in the north of the country. They are engaged in fishing and agriculture.
People of the Kavango tribe make up 10%. They belong to 5 groups with different culture and languages. People of the Kavango tribe live in the northeast of the country near the Okavango River. They settled down there between 1750 and 1800 and mostly engaged in agriculture, fishing and hunting.
The Damara are one of the first inhabitants of Namibia. They make up 7.5% of Namibia’s total population. They live in area of towns of Outjo, Kamanjab, Khorixas, near Brandberg Mountain at present. People of the Damara are engaged in cattle-breeding, hunting, growing tobacco, pumpkin, and maize. Many of them work in area of tourism.
The proud Herero people live in the northern part of Kalahari Desert. They make up about 7.5%. At present many of the Herero live in towns of Windhoek, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Gobabis, Grootfontein, Karibib, and Omaruru. The fact that Herero associated closely with Europeans during 100 years imprinted on Herero culture. Women still wear beautiful traditional dresses from Victorian times.
The Himba tribe is close to Herero group. The Himba live in northwest part of Namibia, in Kaokoland in accordance with centuries-old traditions. There are about 30 000 people.
The Nama people call themselves “the Red Nation”. They make up about 5%. At present they live in central and southern parts of Namibia. Traditionally, the Nama people were engaged in hunting and gathering. They have innate talents for music and dancing.
Other small groups of people:
- the Caprivians (3,7%), living in the eastern part of Kaprivi;
- the first inhabitants of Namibia – the San (Bushmen) people, they make up about 3%.
The largest tribal group in Botswana is the original Tswana tribe, which still comprises almost 50% of the entire population, followed by the Bakalanga people who occupy the northeast and central districts of Botswana for almost 1000 years.
The riverine tribes of the Bayei, Basubiya and Hambukushu inhabit the Okavango and Chobe waterways in Ngamiland District. The Bayei were the first to arrive in the 1700s, closely followed by the Basubiya. The Hambukushu is regarded as master basket weavers.
Bakgalagadi tribe is also of Sotho-Tswana origin and close related to the Batswana people, sharing similar customs and believes.
The Khoi and San were the first inhabitants of southern Africa. Their origin is not certain, but rock paintings that were probably done by their ancestors date back to 25 000 years. The present population is southern Africa is about 100 000 and in Botswana alone there are 52 000- 55 000. Unfortunately, their culture and knowledge are disappearing and they rely on government assistance program.
The Banoka live in the Okavango area and they resemble the San of the Kalahari in both language and physique.
The Herero originated in Namibia and only recently moved into the north of the country around Lake Ngami in 1904-05 to escape the Germans.
There is a significant group of white Batswana mostly descendants of the missionaries, farmer, traders that are settled in the country over the past 100 years.
More than 70 various tribes live in Zambia. One of the numerous one is Lozi which live in the west of Zambia. It migrated from Central Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Ngoni tribe came to the eastern part of Zambia from Southern Africa. Archeological finds prove that the Tonga tribe has lived in the southern province of Zambia for not less than 900 years already. Other smaller groups of the country are Lunda, Bemba, Kaonde, Luvale and many more.
Culture of Zambian peoples is rich of colorful cultural festivals. Annually, there are more than 30 traditional ceremonies to be enjoyed. The Kuomboka is the most famous of the ceremonies and takes place in the Western Province. The journey of the Lozi Chief takes most of the day and the entire village in a flotilla of canoes, headed by the royal barge, finally arrives at Limulunga, further u the Zambezi River, where a huge crowd celebrates with traditional dancing and singing.
Other cultural ceremonies are Likumbi Lya Mize, Mutomboko, Livingston Cultural and Arts Festival.
Sergey Agapov is a photographer and traveler. He likes taking photos of people, life of tribes, nature, animals etc. You can see his photos of Himbas and Bushmen as well as a video of the Bushmen tribe made in Namibiawww.worldphotostour.com