African People & Culture
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TRIBES & PEOPLE GROUPS
There are many different
people groups and tribes across the continent of Africa - with their culture
varying from tribe to tribe. We have included only a few on this page and will
be adding to the list regularly. Click the title for detailed
Afar people live primarily in Ethiopia and the areas of Eritrea, Djibouti, and
Somalia in the Horn of Africa.
Anlo-Ewe people are today in the southeastern corner of the Republic of Ghana.
They settled here around 1474 after escaping from their past home of Notsie.
Amhara are the politically and culturally dominant ethnic group of Ethiopia.
They are located primarily in the central highland plateau of Ethiopia and
comprise the major population element in the provinces of Begemder and Gojjam
and in parts of Shoa and Wallo.
Ashanti live in central Ghana in western Africa approximately 300km. away from
the coast. The Ashanti are a major ethnic group of the Akans in Ghana, a fairly
new nation, barely more than 50 years old.
Bakongo people (aka. the Kongo) dwell along the Atlantic coast of Africa from
Pointe-Noire, Congo (Brazzaville) to Luanda, Angola.
The Bambara are a large Mande racial group located mostly in the country of
Mali. They are the largest and most dominant group in that
Bemba are located in the northeastern part of Zambia and are the largest ethnic
group in the Northern Province of Zambia.
- Berbers have lived in Africa since the earliest recorded time.
References date back to 3000 BC. There are many scattered tribes of Berber
across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.
Bobo peple have lived in western Burkina Faso and Mali for centuries. They are
known for their masks which are worn with elaborate outfits for celebrations.
Primarily agricultral people they also cultivate cotton which they use to trade
'Bushmen' are the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa, where they have lived
for at least 20,000 years. Their home is in the vast expanse of the Kalahari
Chewa, also known as the Cewa or Chichewa is an African culture that has
existed since the beginning of the first millennium, A.D. They are primarily
located in Zambia, Zimbabwe, with the bulk of the population in
Dogon are a cliff-dwelling people who live in Southeastern Mali and Burkina
Faso. Among the people groups in Africa they are unique in that they have kept
and continued to develop their own culture even in the midst of Islamic
invasions which have conquered and adapted many of the current people
Fang are especially known for their guardian figures which they attached to
wooden boxes containing bones of the ancestors. The bones, by tradition, are
said to contain the power of the dead person, in fact, the same amount of power
that the person had while still alive.
Fon of Benin, originally called Dahomey until 1975, are from West Africa. The
Fon are said to have originated in the area of Tado, a town in Tago, at
approximately the same latitude as Abomey, Benin.
Fulani people of West Africa are the largest nomadic group in the world,
primarily nomadic herders and traders. Through their nomadic lifestyle, they
established numerous trade routes in West Africa.
- from Nigerian the Ibos live in villages that have anywhere from a few
hundred to a few thousand people comprised of numerous extended
- Kikuyu (Gikuyu)
- Having migrated to their current location about four centuries ago,
the Kikuyu now make up Kenyas largest ethnic group.
Maasai, famous as herders and warriors, once dominated the plains of East
Africa. Now however they are confined to a fraction of their former
Mandinka are an ethnic group that live in West Africa, primarily Senegal,
Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, but some also live in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cote
- There are many different 'Pygmy' peoples for example, the
Bambuti, the Batwa, the Bayaka and the Bagyeli ('Ba -' means 'people')
who live scattered over a huge area in central and western Africa, in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, Gabon,
Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
Samburu are related to the Masai although they live just above the equator
where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert and slightly
south of Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley Province of
Senufo are a group of people living in northern Cote d'Ivoire and Mali. They
are known as excellent farmers and are made up of a number of different groups
who moved south to Mali and Cote d'Ivoire in the 15 and 16th
Tuareg people are predominently nomadic people of the sahara desert, mostly in
the Northern reaches of Mali near Timbuktu and Kidal.
Wolof are one of the largest people groups that inhabit modern-day Senegal.
They live anywhere from the desert area of the Sahara to the rain forests.
Traditionally many Wolof lived in small villages governed by an extended family
unit but now most Wolof move to cities where they are able to get
Yoruba people live in Southwest Nigeria and Benin. They have developed a
variety of different artistic forms including pottery, weaving, beadwork,
metalwork, and mask making.
Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. They are well known for
their beautiful brightly colored beads and baskets as well as other small