Source: Minority Rights Group International
By Jerome Lewis
The Report provides a brief historical account of the Batwa Pygmy people of the sub-region. It describes their demographic distribution, their way of life and culture, their identification as an indigenous people, and how they have sought to accommodate themselves to changing circumstances largely beyond their control. The text sheds light on similarities and variations among the Batwa Pygmies of the four countries discussed, and describes their contemporary ways of life as potters and labourers, and their talents as performing artists. Most urgently, however, it examines the dynamics of the acute marginalization and discrimination experienced by the Batwa Pygmies, and the multiple ways in which their rights are violated. It also considers the difficult prospects facing them in their struggle for cultural survival. If the Batwa Pygmies of the Great Lakes are to preserve their collective identity, the effectiveness of their own efforts and the support of external actors will be crucial.