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The Mbuti people, or Bambuti as they are collectively called, are one of several indigenous hunter-gatherer groups in the Congo region of Africa. The indigenous peoples of Africa are those peoples from the African region whose way of life, attachment or claims to particular lands, and social and political standing in relation to other more dominant groups have resulted in their substantial marginalisation within modern African states. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...

Total population


Regions with significant populations
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Balese, Bira, Mangbetu
Bambuti mythology
Related ethnic groups
Pygmies, Batwa, Bushmen[citation needed]


Bambuti mythology is the mythology of the African Bambuti Pygmies (also: Mbuti Pygmies, Ba Mbuti). ... Baka dancers in the East Province of Cameroon Batwa dancers in Uganda This article is about the Pygmy people. ... The Bushmen, San, Basarwa, !Kung or Khwe are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. ...


The Bambuti are Pygmy hunter-gatherers, and are one of the oldest indigenous people of the Great Lakes region of Africa .The Bambuti are composed of bands which are relatively small in size, ranging from 15 to 60 people. The Bambuti population totals about 30,000 to 40,000 people. There are three distinct cultures, each with its own dialect, within the Bambuti. These are the Efé, which speak Balese, the Sua, who speak Bira, and the Aka who speak Mangbetu[1]. This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language characteristic of a particular group of the languages speakers. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Mangbetu or Monbuttu are a negroid people of Central Africa living to the south of the Azande in the Welle district of Congo-Kinshasa. ...

The Ancient Egyptians, around 2,500 B.C. made reference to a "people of the trees" that could be the Mbuti. [2]. Khafres Pyramid (4th dynasty) and Great Sphinx of Giza (c. ... The coniferous Coast Redwood, the tallest tree species on earth. ...


The Bambuti live in the forested region in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, they sustain themselves by hunting and gathering in the Ituri forest [3]. The Bambuti escape many influences and pressures from the national government by living a traditional way of life in the forest. Civil war and violation of human rights has affected the lives of many of the Bambuti. Some of the hunter-gatherers choose to move into modern-day villages instead of retaining the customary Bambuti life, due to pressure from the government. If there are disputes or wrongdoing from an individual, the Bambuti usually take matters into their own hands by either banishing, beating, or in smaller incidences, ridiculing [4]. They were first seen in 1456 by Europeans exploring the nearby forest. This article is about a community of trees. ... Ituri is a region located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ... A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight against each other for the control of political power. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ...


Map of Ituri within the DRC.
Map of Ituri within the DRC.

The forest of Ituri is a tropical rainforest. In this area, there is a high amount of rainfall annually, ranging from 50 to 70 inches [5] (127 cm to 178 cm). The rainforest is 70,000 square kilometers. The dry season is relatively short, ranging from one to two months in duration [6]. The forest is a moist, humid region strewn with rivers and lakes. Several ecological problems exist that affect the Bambuti. Disease is prevalent in the forests and can spread quickly, not only killing humans, but plants, and animals, the major source of food, as well. One disease, carried by tsetse flies, is sleeping sickness, which limits the use of large mammals [7]. Too much rainfall and droughts can greatly diminish the food supply as well. Image File history File links Région_Ituri_République_démocratique_du_Congo. ... Image File history File links Région_Ituri_République_démocratique_du_Congo. ... Ituri is a region located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ... Motto Justice – Paix – Travail(French) Justice – Peace – Work Anthem Debout Congolais Capital (and largest city) Kinshasaa Official languages French Government Semi-Presidential Republic  -  President Joseph Kabila  -  Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga Independence  -  from Belgium June 30, 1960  Area  -  Total 2,344,858 km² (12th) 905,351 sq mi   -  Water (%) 3. ... Ituri is a region located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ... The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia. ... The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... Blowdown Lake in the mountains near Pemberton, British Columbia A lake (from Latin lacus) is a body of water or other liquid of considerable size contained on a body of land. ... This article is about the medical term. ... Binomial name Glossina morsitans The tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans, is a fly (order Diptera) that eats blood from animals, including humans. ... Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease in people and animals, caused by protozoa of genus Trypanosoma and transmitted by the tsetse fly. ... Orders Subclass Monotremata Monotremata Subclass Marsupialia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Subclass Placentalia Xenarthra Dermoptera Desmostylia Scandentia Primates Rodentia Lagomorpha Insectivora Chiroptera Pholidota Carnivora Perissodactyla Artiodactyla Cetacea Afrosoricida Macroscelidea Tubulidentata Hyracoidea Proboscidea Sirenia The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary... Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. ...

Settlement architecture and organization

The Bambuti live in villages that are categorized as bands. Each hut houses a family unit. At the start of the dry season, they leave the village to enter the forest and set up a series of camps [8]. This way the Bambuti are able to utilize more land area for maximum foraging. These villages are solitary and separated from other groups of people. Their houses are small, circular, and very temporary. Unlike many modern architects, they do not use blueprints, but instead trace the outline of the house into the ground [9]. The walls of the structures are poles that are placed in the ground and at the top of the poles, a vine is tied around them to keep them together [10]. Large leaves are also used in the construction of the huts. A hut is a small and crude shelter used for dwelling. ... a family of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1997 Family is a Western term used to denote a domestic group of people, or a number of domestic groups linked through descent (demonstrated or stipulated) from a common ancestor, marriage or adoption. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Foraging just means looking for food (or, metaphorically, anything else). ... Modern blueprint of the French galleon La Belle. ...

Food and resources

The Bambuti are primarily hunter-gatherers, foraging for food in the forest. The Bambuti have a vast knowledge about the forest and the foods it yields. Crabs, shellfish, ants, larvae, snails, pigs, antelopes, monkeys, fishes, honey, wild yams, berries, fruits, roots, leaves, and cola nuts are some of the assortment of food that the Bambuti collect [11]. Other food sources yielded by the forest are animals for meat consumption, root plants, palm trees, and bananas [12]; and in some seasons, wild honey [13]. Yams, legumes, beans, peanuts, hibiscus, amaranth, and gourds are also consumed [14] . The Bambuti utilize large nets, traps, and bows and arrows to hunt game. Women and children sometimes help out by trying to drive the animals into the nets. Both sexes gather and forage. Each band has its own hunting ground, although boundaries are hard to maintain [15]. In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... Forage is the herbaceous plant material (mainly grasses and legumes) eaten by grazing animals. ... Phthirus pubis Pubic lice (Phthirus pubis), also known as crabs , are one of the many varieties of lice (singular louse) specialized to live on different areas of different animals. ... Cooked mussels Shellfish is a term used to describe shelled molluscs and crustaceans used as food. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Larvae are the plural of larva, juvenile form of animals with indirect development. ... Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) The name snail applies to most members of the molluscan Class Gastropoda that have coiled shells. ... Kinnikuman character, see Meat Alexandria. ... Yams at Brixton market For the term yam as used in the United States, see sweet potato. ... Varieties of soybean seeds, a popular legume The term legume has two closely related meanings in botany, a situation encountered with many botanical common names of useful plants whereby an applied name can refer to either the plant itself, or to the edible fruit (or useful part). ... This article is on the plant. ... For other uses, see Peanut (disambiguation). ... Species Over 200 species Hibiscus, or rosemallow, is a large genus of about 200–220 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae, native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. ... “Amarant” redirects here. ... A gourd is a hollow, dried shell of a fruit in the Cucurbitaceae family of plants. ... Image of a woman on the Pioneer plaque sent to outer space. ... A male Caucasian toddler child A child (plural: children) is a young human. ...


Trading does exist between the Bantu villagers and the Bambuti. The Bantu villagers produce many items that the hunter gatherers trade some of their products for. The village goods include iron goods, pots, wooden goods, and basketry [16]. The hunter gatherers can trade meat, animal hides, and other forest foods in exchange [17]. Meat is a particularly frequently traded item. They can also trade to obtain agricultural products from the villagers. In market exchanges, prices are usually arbitrary, and people usually try to bargain for prices or trade one good for another [18]. It has been suggested that Commerce be merged into this article or section. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ...


Hunting is usually done in groups, with men, women, and children all aiding in the process. Women and children are not involved if the hunting involves the use of a bow and arrow, but if nets are used, it is common for everyone to participate. In some instances women may hunt using a net more often than men. The women and the children try to herd the animals to the net, while the men guard the net. Everyone engages in foraging, and women and men both take care of the children. Women are in charge of cooking, cleaning and repairing the hut, and obtaining water. The kin based units work together to provide food and care for the young. It is easier for men to lift the women up into the trees for honey. A hunt is an activity during which humans or animals chase some prey, such as wild or specially bred animals (traditionally targeted species are known as game), in order to catch or kill them, either for food, sale, or as a form of sport. ...

Kinship and descent system

The Bambuti tend to follow a patrilineal descent system, and their residences after marriage are patrilocal. However, the system is rather loose. The only type of group seen amongst the Bambuti is the nuclear family [19]. Kinship also provides allies for each group of people. Patrilineality is a system in which one belongs to ones fathers lineage; it generally involves the inheritance of property, names or titles through the male line as well. ... Kinship is the most basic principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories. ...

Marriage customs

Sister exchange is the common form of marriage [20]. Based on reciprocal exchange, men from other bands exchange sisters or other females to which they have ties [21]. In Bambuti society, bride wealth is not customary. There is no formal marriage ceremony: a couple are considered officially married when the groom presents his bride's parents with an antelope he alone was hunted and killed. Polygamy does occur, but at different rates depending on the group, and it is not very common. Marriage is an interpersonal relationship with governmental, social, or religious recognition, usually intimate and sexual, and often created as a contract, or through civil process. ... The term polygamy (many marriages in late Greek) is used in related ways in social anthropology, sociobiology, and sociology. ...

Political structure

There is no ruling group or lineage, and no overlying political organization. The Bambuti are an egalitarian society in which the band is the highest form of social organization [22]. An instance in which leadership may be displayed is on hunting treks [23]. Men and women basically have equal power. Fire camps are where issues in the community and decisions are made by consensus, in which men and women engage in the conversations equivalently [24]. There is not much political or social structure among the Bambuti. If there is a disagreement, misdemeanor, or offense, then the person may be banished, beaten, or scorned [25]. Egalitarianism is the moral doctrine that equality ought to prevail among some group along some dimension. ... A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour, in many common law legal systems, is a lesser criminal act. ...


See Bambuti mythology. Bambuti mythology is the mythology of the African Bambuti Pygmies (also: Mbuti Pygmies, Ba Mbuti). ...

Everything in the Bambuti life is centered on the forest because that is what sustains them and they believe that it is a sacred place. They sometimes call the forest “mother” or “father.” An important ritual that impacts the Bambuti life is referred to as molimo. After events such as death, the molimo ritual is noisily celebrated to wake the forest up, in the belief that if bad things are happening to its children, it must be asleep. [26]. The time it takes to complete a molimo, as for many Bambuti rituals, is not rigidly set; instead, it is determined by the mood of the group. Food is collected from each hut to feed the molimo, and in the evening the ritual is accompanied by the men dancing and singing around the fire. Women and children must remain in their huts with the doors closed. These practices were studied thoroughly by British anthropologist Colin Turnbull, known primarily for his work with the tribe. This article is about a community of trees. ... A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. ... Colin Macmillan Turnbull (November 23, 1924 - July 28, 1994) was a prominent British anthropologist who gained fame with his book The Forest People (1962), a detailed study of the Mbuti Pygmies. ...

Molimo is also the name of a trumpet the men play during the ritual. Traditionally, it was made of wood or sometimes bamboo, but Turnbull also reported the use of metal drainpipes. When not in use, the trumpet is stored in the trees of the forest. During a celebration, the trumpet is retrieved by the youth of the village and carried back to the fire. [27].

Major challenges today

Unfortunately, the land that the Bambuti live on is threatened for various reasons. It is not protected by the law, and the boundaries that each band claims are not distinctly marked out. They are no longer allowed to hunt large game, so they have to trade with nearby Bantu villages. Due to deforestation, gold mining, and modern influences, from plantations, agriculturalists, and efforts to conserve the forests, their food supply is threatened. There is also a significant amount of civil unrest in the country. This article is about the process of deforestation in the environment. ... Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food in such a way as to stop or greatly slow down spoilage to prevent foodborne illness while maintaining nutritional value, texture and flavor. ...

See also

Twa (Batwa) people The Twa, also known as Batwa, are a pygmy people who were the oldest recorded inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of central Africa. ...


1 ^  Mukenge, Tshilemalea (2002). Culture and Customs of the Congo. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 
2 ^  Turnbull, Colin M. (1968). The Forest People. New York, Simon and Schuster, Inc. 
3 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
4 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
5 ^  Ehret, Christopher (1998). The Civilizations of Africa. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. 
6 ^  Ehret. The Civilizations of Africa. 
7 ^  King, Glenn (2002). Traditional Cultures. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press. 
8 ^  King. Traditional Cultures. 
9 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
10 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
11 ^  King. Traditional Cultures. 
12 ^  King. Traditional Cultures. 
13 ^  Turnbull. The Forest People. 
14 ^  King. Traditional Cultures. 
15 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
16 ^  Ehret. The Civilizations of Africa. 
17 ^  Ehret. The Civilizations of Africa. 
18 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
19 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
20 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
21 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
22 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
23 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
24 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
25 ^  Mukenge. Culture and Customs of the Congo. 
26 ^  Turnbull. The Forest People. 
27 ^  Turnbull. The Forest People. 
28 ^  Day, Thomas. The Largest Expanse. 

External links

  Results from FactBites:
The Mbuti of Zaire (1404 words)
The Mbuti population lives in the Ituri Forest, a tropical rainforest covering about 70,000 km2 of the north/northeast portion of Zaire.
Mbuti reverence for the forest extends beyond being merely a source of supplies to viewing it as sacred, as a "deity" from which they ask for help and give thanks through their ritual ceremonies, including the molimo.
The molimo is a major ritual in Mbuti life, inspired by their belief that the forest is the center of their existence, the source of all that is good in their lives.
  More results at FactBites »



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