Hedareb people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations

2,099,000[citation needed]
202,000 (2009 Eritrean embassy estimate);[1] 100,000 (2009 ILO estimate)[2]

81,000[citation needed]
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
other Beja people

The Hedareb or T'bdawe[note 1] are a Beni-Amer division, a subgroup of the Beja. They speak the Beja language, which belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. They are one of the nine ethnolinguistic groups in Eritrea.[3]


The Hedareb people live in northwestern Barka in Eritrea, and in Sudan.[4] Skilled nomadic pastoralists, they typically migrate seasonally with their herds of camels, goats and sheep.[3]


The Hedareb speak the Beja language as a mother tongue. It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Besides their variety of Beja known as Hedareb (T’badwe), most Hedareb speakers also speak at least one other language; typically either Arabic or Tigre, which are both also Afro-Asiatic languages.[5]


Hedareb society is hierarchical, and is traditionally organized into clans and subclans.[4] Most Hedarebs are Sunni Muslims.[3] Marriages are typically arranged to maximize alliances between extended families. It is customary for the groom's family to pay a bride price of five to twelve goats, and a varying amount of money.[6]

Sociologist Abdulkader Saleh Mohammad writes that the Hedareb have been excluded from state conceptions of Eritrean nationhood, and have become a marginalized group with many members who do not feel connected to the Eritrean nation-state.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hedareb, t'badwe, to-bedawye and bedawi may refer to the people or their language. Beja is an Arabic name for the language; Hedareb may be a corruption of Hadarma, "people of the Hadhramaut". See Tesfagiorgis G., Mussie. Eritrea. p. 178 and 216.  and Paul, A. (1959). "THE HADĀREB: A Study in Arab—Beja Relationships". Sudan Notes and Records. University of Khartoum. 40: 75–78. JSTOR 41719580. 


  1. ^ "About Eritrea: People". eritreanconsulate-lb.com. Honorary Consulate of The State of Eritrea in Lebanon. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Mehbratu, S; Habtezion, Zerisenay (2009). Eritrea: Constitutional, Legislative and Administrative Provisions Concerning Indigenous Peoples. International Labour Organization; African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Communities/Populations in Africa; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; with support from the European Commission. SSRN 1584657Freely accessible.  Asserts Hedareb population is 2% of the total population of 4.8 million.
  3. ^ a b c "The People of Eritrea". www.eritrean-embassy.se. Eritrean Embassy in Sweden. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Tesfagiorgis G., Mussie (2010). Eritrea. ABC-CLIO. p. 178. ISBN 1598842315. 
  5. ^ Killion, Tom (1998). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3437-5. 
  6. ^ Tesfagiorgis G., Mussie. Eritrea. pp. 194–195. 
  7. ^ Mohammad, Abdulkader Saleh (2013). "Competing identities and the emergence of Eritrean Nationalism between 1941 and 1952" (PDF). “African Dynamics in Multipolar World”. 5th European Conference on African Studies. Lisbon: Centro de Estudos Internacionais do Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). pp. 1376–1408. 978-989-732-364-5. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • YouTube videos of traditional Hedareb dance: [1], [2]
  • Eritrean Ministry of Information: Traditional Wedding Ceremonies of the Hedareb Part I and Part II

Further reading[edit]