The Pende used to live in hamlets scattered along or close to streams, but the sanitary authorities regrouped them into big villages on the plateau and imposed a clearing of 50 meters around the village. Villagers were thus less exposed to tsetse flies and mosquitoes. Some Pende divided themselves up again, however, into traditional hamlets formed from lineage segments.
Pende keep goats, pigs, chickens, and a few dogs. Millet, maize, manioc, and peanuts are cultivated. At Kilembe, some sorghum plants were still being grown near a few huts, intended solely to be prepared for offerings of their customary food to the dead. Sorghum had been part of the traditional diet, but a disease (possibly ergot) made it too dangerous to eat: "Sorghum has killed many men," they say. The basic food is now a flour—half manioc, half millet or maize—accompanied sometimes by meat or, most often, by a vegetable, such as manioc leaves.