The African continent is a vast, extraordinary space, steeped in diverse cultures, a myriad of colours, an abundance of languages and over three thousand unique tribes that each come with a fascinating history and way of life.
Take a read below of a few of the tribes, just one thread in the vast tapestry that forms the heartbeat of Africa and her people.
This tribe can be found on the horn of Africa in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia. They traditionally have been organised into separate kingdoms, each ruled by its own Sultan. They are pastoralists.
The Amhara are Ethiopia’s dominant ethnic group. They are mainly found in the central highland plateau of Ethiopia.
These people can be found in the Republic of Ghana. Before Europeans began their colonisation of Africa, the Ashanti developed an influential empire in West Africa.
These people of Africa also go by the name Asante. They are found mostly in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Before the colonisation of Africa by the Europeans, the Ashanti people created a large empire in West Africa.
The Berber are the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa (west of the Nile) and have existed in Africa since at least 3000 BC. They are scattered across Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.
These people live in the cliffs of Southeastern Mali, south of the Niger near the city of Bandiagara. The Dogon are a major tourist attraction for Mali. This tribe is known for their mask dances, architecture, and wooden sculptures.
These people, who refer to themselves as Muonyjang, are the largest ethnic tribe in South Sudan. They live in the Bahr el Ghazal region in the Nile basin, Jonglei, southern Kordufan and the Upper Nile region.
The Fang people live in forest clearings in the humid rainforests of Gabon. They are perhaps best known for the guardian figures which they attached to wooden boxes holding their ancestor’s bones.
This ethnic group once occupied large areas of East Africa. They are known as great warriors and herders.
These people, known for their small stature, live in central and western Africa. There are many pygmy tribes including the Bambuti, Bayaka, Batwa, and the Bagyeli.
An African tribe list would not be complete without including the San, who are also referred to as Bushmen, Barwa, Sho, Kung, or Khwe. They live in the Kalahari Desert and are the oldest inhabitants of South Africa. This group of people were traditionally hunters and gathers, but in modern day have become farmers.
This tribe is also referred to as the Watutsi and in Rwanda and Burundi they are the second largest caste. The largest caste is the Hutu and the smallest is the Twa.
They are the largest ethnic group in South Africa, numbering about 10 million. Most of the Zulu live in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.