Nomad mother with her children near the capital od Somaliland

The Somali Bantu (Jareer, Gosha and Mushunguli) people are resourceful, humble, hospitable and predominantly Af Maay-speaking minority ethnic group that primarily inhabit the interriverine area of southern Somalia, near the vicinity of the Shabelle and Juba Rivers. They are also found in the towns of Jamaame, Jilib, Bu’alle, Sakow and Kamsuma.


The ancestral tribes from Southeast Africa whose natives were captured and enslaved include, among others, the Makua and Yao of southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique; the Ngindo of southern Tanzania; the Nyasa of southern Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and northern Malawi; and the Zaramo and Zigua of northeast Tanzania. Other southeast African tribes represented among the Bantu refugees include the Digo, Makale, Manyawa, Nyamwezi, and Nyika.


The black-skin Somali Bantu people are given various names with serious derogatory slurs by the light-skin Somalis. The Somali Bantu people, especially those who fled the once forested Juba River valley, are politely referred to as Wagosha (“people of the forest”) or Jareer (term used to describe Africans with hard or kinky hair). Derogatory terms to describe the Somali Bantu include adoon and habash, which translate as “slave.” Some Somalis also call the Bantu ooji, which in Italian means “today”and refers to the Somali's perception of the Bantu as lacking the ability to think beyond the moment.


Despite the abuses against them, the Bantu have been described as a resourceful people with many different skills. Bantu who have gone to the cities have worked in a variety of labor intensive occupations. Their resourcefulness and hard work is evident in the refugee camps as well, where the Bantu have been engaged in similar types of jobs as well as agricultural work. The Bantu have also been described as humble and hospitable. They are known for their capacity to easily adjust to any situation.

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