Hunters, Gatherers, Herders, and Others

Hunters, Gatherers, Herders, and Others

Scattered throughout the lower third of Angola, chiefly in the drier areas, were small bands of people. Until the twentieth century, most of them were nomadic hunters and gatherers, although some engaged in herding, either in addition to their other subsistence activities or as their chief means of livelihood. Those who survived turned, at least in part, to cultivation.

The bands living a nomadic or seminomadic life in Cuando Cubango Province (and occasionally reaching as far east as the upper Cunene River) differed physically and linguistically from their sedentary Bantu-speaking neighbors. Short, saffron-colored, and in other respects physically unlike the Nganguela, Ovambo, and Nyaneka-Humbe, they spoke a language of the !Xu-Angola or Maligo set of tongues referred to as Khoisan or Click languages (the exclamation point denotes a specific kind of click), whose precise relations to each other are not yet fully understood by observers.

Several other hunting and gathering or herding groups, the members of which were taller and otherwise physically more like the local Bantu speakers, lived farther west, adjacent to the Ovambo and Herero. These people spoke Bantu languages and were less nomadic than the Khoisan speakers, but they were clearly different from the Ovambo and Herero and probably preceded them in the area.


Country Studies main page | Angola Country Studies main page | Celebrity