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 sections...
- The Afar people live primarily in
Ethiopia and the areas of Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa.
- The 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.
- The 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
- The 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.
- The 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 country.
- The 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
- The 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 with
- The '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 desert.
- The 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 Malawi.
- The 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 groups
- The 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
- The 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.
- The 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 families.
- Kikuyu (Gikuyu)
- Having migrated to their current
location about four centuries ago, the Kikuyu now make up Kenya’s largest ethnic
- The Maasai, famous as herders and
warriors, once dominated the plains of East Africa. Now however they are
confined to a fraction of their former range.
- The 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 d'Ivoire.
- 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
- The 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 Kenya.
- The 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 centuries.
- The Tuareg people are
predominently nomadic people of the sahara desert, mostly in the Northern
reaches of Mali near Timbuktu and Kidal.
- The 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 jobs.
- The 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.
- The 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 carvings.