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Hunter Gatherers’ Conceptions of Life after This Life

The Hadza Tribe or Hadzabe is a remote African Tribe in Tanzania that is one of the last hunter-gatherers tribes in the world. They have been almost abandoned from modern contact until recently. They have no livestock and do not grow or store their food. The survive by hunting with hand-made bows and arrows and foraging for editable plants.

An interview presented in the link below with members of the Hadza Tribe revealed that members of the tribe believe the dead rise up to the sun and there meet their ancestors. They have an understanding of the life after this life, possibly indicating that such a belief is a natural trait for human beings, and that rejecting such a belief as the West has since the seventeenth century requires suppressing a natural characteristic of humans.
An article in Exploring Africa explains, “The Hadza do not believe in any divinity but they believe in a presence that manifests itself in the sun. They practice ancestor worship and believe in their presence in the form of ghosts.” (Hadza Social Organisation,” Exploring Africa, n.d., https://www.exploring-africa.com/en/tanzania/hadzabe/hadza-social-organisation)

The Hadza have had contact with Europeans since the eighteenth century, with some efforts to convert them to Christianity. Research would have to determine how much their conceptions had been contaminated by European influence.

An online journalist named Mike Corey spent several days with them experiencing their daily lives and asking them questions about their lives. Among the questions was his question about what happens to people after the body dies. In the excerpt from his video that follows, Soloco, the tribe’s leader responded to the question. You can watch a video of a portion of the interview by clicking on the button below.

Source: Mike Corey, “Asking Hunter-Gatherers Life’s Toughest Questions,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAGjuRwx_Y8. May 30, 2021.