Bantu Tribe

topic posted Sun, June 11, 2006 - 3:13 PM by  Leslie
Bantu in Somali are not fairly treated. They've been discriminated against, abused, sold as slaves, and forced to move in order to survive. Somali government needs to provide better support for the Bantu by treating them as equals. Give them a fair education with no discrimination, give them land, protect them from harm and then compensate them for the way they were treated.

The Bantu, a persecuted minority group in Somalia, are in many ways, viewed and treated as foreigners. Although slavery in southern Somalia was abolished in the early part of the 20th century, the quality of life for the Bantu is very bad and unjust. (Somali Bantu, n.d.)

1) Resettlement
Goal: Somalia should give the Bantu land that they will not be bothered on, a sort of Indian reservation approach, and large enough to support all the people in the refugee camps.

If Bantu were treated better and given protection, they would not need to move to refugee camps. Refugee camps cannot handle the amount of people living in them. They are overcrowded (blocks or sections housing approximately 600 people each). (Somali Bantu, n.d.)

2) Forced to be in the military
Goal: Freedom from the Somali government to live on their farms and make a better way of life for their families in their home country.

The Somali government forcibly drafted the Bantu into the military in its fight against Ethiopia in 1970s and 1980s. They made ideal soldiers in that they were easily identified as comrades by other government soldiers and they were more easily caught if they tried to escape. (Somali Bantu, n.d.)

3) Freedom from slavery
Goal: The Bantu should be treated as equals in the Somali community in order to maintain their inherited culture and language.

As the Somali civil society fell apart in 1991 and 1992, the agriculture markets shut down. As hunger spread among the Somali people, bandits and militias attacked the Bantu without punishment because the Bantu were excluded from Somali protection. (Somali Bantu, n.d.)

4) Lack of educational opportunities
Goal: Bantu children should not have limitations in their choice of schools and the depth of their education.

The Bantu are excluded from formal education and have been excluded from studying abroad on scholarships. They have remained illiterate because of their general exclusion from Somali society. About 5% of all Bantu refugees have been formally educated and the Somali government provides a small number of schools in the Bantu regions. (Somali Bantu, n.d.)


Somali Bantu-Their History and Culture. (n.d.) retrieved on June 7, 2006 from
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  • Somali faction response to Bantu Tribe

    Wed, June 14, 2006 - 8:31 AM
    Somalian culture is of clans...and the Somalian people view the Bantu as squatters and
    outsiders with no clan affiliation. They aren't attempting to suppress the
    Bantu, but working in a culture where they protect their own with no regard
    for unrecognized clans. No social contract based on clan affiliation exists between
    the occupying forces and the villagers. The Somali
    population is estimated at about 7.5 million people. Of that figure, the
    entire Bantu population in southern Somalia is estimated at about 600,000,
    and those with strong east African identification are estimated at a
    fraction of that number. The Bantu people are ethnically and culturally
    distinct from the Somali nomads and the coastal people, who generally
    disdain agriculture and value a tribal lineage system that does not include
    the Bantu.

    Although the Bantu are seeking what appears to be basic human rights; they are asking it of the wrong country. In its current state, Somalia's culture will not allow the resettlement/respect, freedoms, avoidance of military service or educational opportunities they seek.

    Bantu settlers are not adapting to Somali social structures, nor are they being adopted in mainstream Somalian society; therefore, they are not afforded the protections that clan affiliation brings. The Bantu have a very strong sense of family and community; Somalians have a strong clan system. It's rather like mixing oil and water. The Bantu have no real desire to exert themselves as a clan; rather continue to operate as refugees in order to survive. Somalians regard their behavior as weak and subservient.

    The years of subjugation and fear have adversely affected Bantus' sense of
    equality and self-esteem. However, the Somalian culture does not honor or allow its citizens to offer humanitarian support or understanding. The Bantu still lack the psychological freedom to be themselves; therefore, cannot assimilate in the clan structure of Somalia.

    • Re: Somali faction response to Bantu Tribe

      Sat, June 17, 2006 - 10:53 AM
      "Bantu settlers are not adapting to Somali social structures, nor are they being adopted in mainstream Somalian society".

      What the Bantu tribe has endured is tragic, however, the statement above give a good reason as to why they are shunned. You must make attempts to assimilate yourself into the society that you live in. I do not feel it is the Somalians responsibility to provide land and other provisions to the Bantu. Everyone must make their way - the country of Somalia has much on it's plate - they cannot provide special accomodations for the Bantu tribe. The Bantus must find a way to assimilate themselves into the Somalian community and gain respect and help that way, not by asking for handouts.
  • Re: Bantu Tribe

    Thu, June 15, 2006 - 9:39 PM
    Bantu in Somali are treated the same as any other individual as long as they respect the rules that are in place. Yes, there is a reputation of being sold as slaves, but that was long ago. Somali strives to treat everyone the same. Somalia does not owe any land to anyone. The land is there land. Somalia just ask that everyone respects the land and laws that abide. If others disrespect the laws, then actions will be taken into consideration. Somali was there land free, and full of their values, and no others.
  • Re: Bantu Tribe

    Sat, June 17, 2006 - 11:39 AM
    I posted that I felt that the Somali presented a stronger argument on this topic. The initial Bantu post was laid out very well though - it presented the needs or expectations of the Banut people very completely. I feel that the Somali culture needs much more time to heal and grow, but that hopefully some of the suggestions offered in the posts could become part of future healing for both factions.
  • Re: Bantu Tribe

    Mon, June 19, 2006 - 8:05 PM
    Well, I think I am going to side with Somali on this one. It has nothing to do with your blog though, just my feelings on the subject. Your argument was very well stated and you presented great facts.

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