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Hadzabe: By The Light of a Million Fires

by Daudi Peterson

Daudi Peterson, working closely with a committee of Hadzabe Elders in Tanzania, gives an unprecedented inside account of one of the world’s last hunter–gatherer societies as seen through their own eyes. Over thousands of years, the Hadzabe oral history unfolded as elders narrated their stories around countless fires in their bush camps of the remote Yaeda valley. Building on years spent working with and accompanying Hadzabe in the field, Daudi and Trude Peterson and Jon Cox photographed hunter–gatherer daily life, culture, and knowledge, from digging tubers to collecting honey and medicinal plants, hunting game and making tools out of just about everything. This documentary rich with photographs, illustrations and Hadzabe handwritten text is an innovative approach to documenting one of the world’s most unique remaining indigenous cultures.

Read an account with the Hadzabe in the Financial Times here.

ISBN 9789987082964 | 260 pages | 240 x 300mm | Colour Illustrations and Colour Photographs | 2013 | Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania | Paperback

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Reviews

“Eye–opening—shatters the great myth about hunter–gatherers and highlights the essential role of sharing for a sustainable world. Based on a blend of relevant research and authentic stories, this book can remind us of who we truly are.”

Richard Leider, Bestselling Author of Repacking Your Bags & The Power of Purpose

Hadzabe, By the Light of a Million Fires is a remarkable book—a vibrant, engaging portrait of the lives, aspirations and dilemmas of contemporary Hadzabe from their own perspectives, in their own words. Listen to older men tell stories from the past. Learn how to hunt, gather, and live off the land in environmentally sustainable ways. Look at the faces of Hadza men, women, and children. Lament their loss of land, resources, and rights. Peterson and his Hadza collaborators have produced a moving, fascinating account of one
of the few remaining hunter–gatherer peoples today, a people struggling to retain control over their lives, livelihoods, and land. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the past, present and future of Africa and Africans.”

Dorothy L. Hodgson, Professor & Chair of Anthropology, Rutgers University

“Daudi Peterson and his Hadza colleagues have produced a wonderful natural and cultural history of an ancient lifestyle that has almost vanished, but a people who are very much alive. Their rich portrayal connects us to the hunting-and gathering ways of our African ancestors by documenting the society of a few hundred Hadza who are fully aware of what they represent: a modern people who are also the best hope for a continuing tie By The Light of a Million Fires to our deep past.”

Richard Wrangham, Author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

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