Azande: Warrior Tribe that Conquered Parts of Central Africa Republic, DRC & South Sudan


The Azande people speak the Zande Language. They belong to a certain group found in the North Central in Africa. Specifically, they are located in the northeastern parts of the DRC. Furthermore, they extend to southwestern and south-central areas of South Sudan. They also cover the southeastern areas of the Central African Republic. When you move to Orientale Province in regions like Dung, Daruma, Isiro, you will find the Congolese Azande.


The tribe that settled in Central Africa found their comfort zone in Rafa, Obo, and Bangasu. Those who went to South Sudan lived in Maridi, Rimbio, and Yei areas, WA you Town, Moomoi, Tombura, among other regions. They mainly occupied the Western Bahr al_ghazalm western equatorial and the Central states of South Sudan.


The Zande community originated when there was a military conquest in the middle 18th century. The community was under two leaders, a political dynasty and distinct personnel. The Vungari clan was the head of state. They were the only people who made laws concerning linguistic, cultural, and political matters.


One of the non-Zande communities that absorbed their practices was Bandia. They were found in the northern region of Zaire. Bandia inherited many cultural practices from the people.


In the early 19th century, the Bandia became powerful and ruled over the Vungare clan. The two groups then decided to join and form the Azande people. Their main residential place was Savannah, currently known as the Central African Republic.

A king headed the kingdom. After his death, his son would fight until he succeeded in the leadership. Azande grew up quickly. The kings were very tough when it came to expanding their territory. They absorbed their northern and eastern neighbors. In the late 19th century, Sudan invaded the kingdom, and the northern expansion stopped abruptly. That was when Anglo Egyptian, France, and Belgium decided to divide the Azande community.

The Azande had many variations namely: Zande, A-Zandeh, Adio and the Sandeh. They had many territories, although divided. Their name ‘Azande’ meant conquer worriers with a vast territory. NyaNyam was a name referred to the Azande by foreigners in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

In some communities, they are called the Azande Nuer, which means the ‘great eaters.’ This is the same as cannibalism. South Sudan preferred cannibalism, which then influenced outsiders to use that name. Currently, most people will term the name NyamNyam as pejorative.

The community had almost 1.1 million speakers. They have related languages which include Gem, Kptiri, Barambu, Adio, and Nzakara. Their literature is recorded while others were published in the early 20th century by missionaries. In the 1960s, some linguistics came to translate the document into various languages.

Currently, the Azande community resides in three regions: the DRC, South Sudan, and the CAR. They elongate to the southwest of the Upper region of Congo to south-central Sudan.

In DRC, the document shows that the country has almost 730,000 speakers. 350000 in South Sudan and 62000 in the Central African Republic.


The Azande used the available natural resources to build their houses. They had grass-thatched houses framed with wooden poles. On the top, the house was well coated with a special type of grass. The houses were built in the courtyard, the doors looking against each other to ease the communication skills. They planted mangoes and pineapple in the kitchen garden.

Social and political organization

There were various kingdoms inside the Azande group. The chiefs in each chiefdom had specific roles to play. Such roles include political leadership, financial guidance, and military advisors. All those young men who had not married were to represent the community warriors and workers. In addition, they had minor local groups that served as political organizations.


The Europeans tried to promote the growth of cotton wool in their farms during the second world war. The project failed because they were not involved in the trading partnership. Azande is mainly a farmer. The main crops grown were rice, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts. Among the most popular fruits in the region were pineapples, sugarcane, and bananas in the area.


Furthermore, they planted simsim and palm trees for oil purposes. Between 1998 and 2001, the Azande community benefitted when World Vision International decided to purchase their produce.


The Azande community experienced two types of seasons per year. During the rainy season, both women and men would retrieve any damaged food from the rivers. The main role of women in these moments was to collect crab fish and snakes in shallow pools. The strong men aided in the development of traps, Their favorite food was termite, which occurred in few seasons within a year.


They made curved knives which they used to throw away. The main aim was to demonstrate their artisan. They used wood and clay to make beautiful sculptures.

Some community members made Sansas and thumb piano. Those instruments were mainly used during special occasions like weddings and burials.



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