The Batwa

The Batwa

The Batwa, The original inhabitants of the forest, the Batwa are an endangered group of pygmy people. Who are believed to have migrated from the Ituri forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The name Batwa is comes from twa used to describe people who primarily depend on hunting and gathering. Mutwa specifically used to describe one and many called Batwa. Batwa names are derived from wild game or a location in the forest. They occupy the districts of Bundibugyo, Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri.

The original inhabitants of the forest have for centuries lived harmoniously. With the forest and its dwellers, hunting and gathering food for survival. But in 1992, after Bwindi Impenetrable forest was gazette becoming a world heritage site to protect mountain gorillas. They  were forced to leave their homes and occupy unfamiliar territories.

Ways of Living

The Batwa are mall-statured people, surviving on the forest and living small communities. Where they erected huts from leaves and branches camouflaging into the surroundings. They wore animal skin and oiled their skins. With natural oils from plants. While the elderly smeared cow dung on their skins to prevent sunburn. Without land to call their own the Batwa kept few valuables and rear animals such as goats, sheep and fowl for subsistence. They have been living as conservation refugees as more and more of their land is being reserved for forest.

They have since tried to adapt living some of their indigenous ways of life. Forcing them to adapt to the mainstream society that treats them as outcasts. Meanwhile you will find their living in dotted villages consisting of a dozen families on the edges of Mgahinga and Bwindi forest.

Tourists are treated to out of the ordinary cultural experiences when they visit these communities. However they have defied the normal standards of living stated by man by living. Without technology sticking to their traditional ways of life.


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