The Azande Tribe

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The Azande, by Holly Peters-Golden The people known as the Azande are a melding together of what were separate clans in the past. They live primarily in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in southwestern Sudan, and in the southeastern Central African Republic. The Congolese Azande live in Orientale Province, specifically along the Uele River; and the Central African Azande live in the districts of Rafaï, Zémio, and Obo. The Azande speak Zande, which they call Pazande in their language. Zande is an Adamawa-Ubangi language. Zande history tells of a single individual who, thorugh his wisdom and kindness, gained power within his own clan, the Avongara. Under his leadership, it soon became the dominant group. The Avongara moved eastward along the riverbanks, they conquered more than fifty other clans. They eventually amalgamated inot one Zande group. The Azande means “the people who possess much land,” in recognition of those conquests and the growth of territory. By the early twentieth century the Zande district was under British rule, which lasted until 1953. Sudan claimed independence in 1956. The Zande live in an are of rolling hills with abundant rivers and streams. Tall trees grow on the bank of the waters which provide shade to build homesteads. However, they fell victim to “sleeping sickness” spread by the tse-tse fly. It breeds in thick bushes. Sudanese authorities forced them to relocate to settlements near roads. Azande practice shifting cultivation, which is, no crop rotation, and also incorporating a fallowing period. They rely mostly on maize, millet, gourds, pumpkins, manioc, bananas, nuts, and beans. The tse-tse fly, which is also problematic to animals as well as humans, makes it impossible to herd cattle. The only meat consumed is meat that is secured by hunting. Dogs and chickens are the only domesticated
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