NEWS 2007


Royalty From The UAE Threaten To Take Over Tribe's Land

July 18, 2007 2:03 p.m. EST

Tomasz Filipczak - AHN

Yaeda Valley, Tanzania (AHN) -- The Royal Family of the United Arab Emirates might wipe out the second -oldest indigenous tribe in the world.

Africa's primitive Hadzabe people, only 1,500 members strong, have survived for millennia despite disease, famine, and encroaching civilizations.

However, a deal between Tanzania and the UAE threatens to destroy their way of life.

The Hadzabe are hunter-gatherers that call the 2,500 square miles of sprawling, yellow-green Yaeda valley near the storied Serengeti Plain their hunting grounds and home.

The deal between the Tanzanian government and Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd. leases this land to members of the royal family, who selected it after a helicopter tour.

The Royalty of the UAE plans to use the land recreationally. They already own land nearby but are looking to expand.

A Tanzanian official said that a nearby hunting area the family shared with relatives had become "too crowded" and that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family "indicated that it was inconvenient" and requested his own parcel.

"I don't even know what an Arab looks like," said Kaunda, a Hadzabe man who prefers khakis but still hunts with hand-hewn poison arrows, "Maybe he's black. Maybe he's another color. I don't know. But we are ready to die."

The Hadzabe have been described by the Tanzanian government as a "backwards" people that are resistant to change and who refuse to accept modernization, according to the Washington Post.

Concepts like standardized time are even too much for the Hadzabe. "What is the need for time?" Kaunda asked. "You wake up, you get honey. What do you need time for?"

But dozens of Hadzabe, who still make fire by rubbing sticks together said that they are ready to modernize, slowly. However, they feel slighted because they were not consulted on the deal, which is a direct threat to their way of life because it involves hunting.