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(Wassandaui), a people inhabiting the territory between the Bubu and Mponde rivers in Tanzania. They number more than 30,000 (1970, estimate). They speak Sandawe; many also speak Nyaturu (Wanyaturu), which belongs to the Bantu family. Most of the Sandawe have preserved their traditional forms of worship; some have adopted Christianity. The Sandawe engage in farming, livestock raising, hunting, and fishing.



the language of the Sandawe people; spoken in the Kondoa region of Tanzania by more than 30,000 persons (1970, estimate). Some scholars relate Sandawe to the Khoisan languages of southwestern Africa (see alsoHOTTENTOT LANGUAGES), although its morphology and vocabulary indicate that Sandawe diverged from these languages in the remote past.

The phonetic features of Sandawe include dental, palato-alveolar, and lateral clicks. Nouns are marked for masculine and feminine gender and for grammatical number. Personal and demonstrative pronouns and a system of verbal formants attest to a distant relationship between Sandawe and the Hottentot and Bushman languages of South Africa (some scholars relate Sandawe only to the Hottentot languages). Sandawe serves as evidence supporting the hypothesis that East Africa was settled in ancient times by Khoisan-speaking peoples.


Westphal, E. O. J. “The Non-Bantu Languages of Southern Africa.” In A. N. Tucker and M. A. Bryan, The Non-Bantu Languages of North-Eastern Africa. London, 1956.
Greenberg, J. H. The Languages of Africa, 2nd ed. The Hague, 1966.