About 5,000 years ago, many people in sub-Saharan Africa still relied on hunting, gathering, and foraging as their main means of collecting food. But that was soon going to change. People in West-Central Africa began experimenting with agriculture, cultivating the yams, legumes, peppers, and gourds that would became staples of sub-Saharan African diet. These people spoke languages belonging to the Bantu language family, and about 4,000 years ago they began to move.
First, they headed east across the central rainforest. Eventually, the descendants of these migrants arrived at the farthest reaches of southern Africa. Later, other Bantu speakers who had remained in West Africa also began to travel down the western coast. As they traveled over a period of centuries, they both displaced and absorbed many other hunter-gatherer groups that were already living throughout Africa.Their agricultural and technological knowledge also diffused to other local groups. They often intermarried, sometimes adopting local cultural practices of those people they encountered. The languages that they brought with them from their ancestral homeland spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and today the majority of sub-Saharan African languages are Bantu.