The Pygmies

Displacement and discrimination devastating forest dwellers. Across the forests of central Africa, forest peoples have lived by hunting and gathering for millenia. But in the past few decades their homelands have been devastated by logging, war and encroachment from farmers.

With expansion of protected areas in response to these problems, their livelihoods have become increasingly impossible and their strong ties to their forests are under strain. 

The ‘Pygmy’ peoples of central Africa are traditionally hunter-gatherers living in the rainforests throughout central Africa.

The term ‘Pygmy’ has gained negative connotations, but has been reclaimed by some indigenous groups as a term of identity.

Primarily though, these communities identify themselves as ‘forest peoples’ due to the fundamental importance of the forest to their culture, livelihood and history.

Each is a distinct people, such as the Twa, Aka, Baka and Mbuti living in countries across central Africa, including the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda and Cameroon.

Different groups have different languages and hunting traditions. Although each community faces different threats and challenges, racism, logging and conservation are major problems for many, all contributing to serious health problems and violent abuse.

Current estimates put the population of the ‘Pygmy’ peoples at about half a million. more