Keepers of The Forest[ HIDE TEXT ][ SHOW TEXT ]
Deep in the rich rainforests of southwest Uganda, the indigenous Batwa pygmies shared their tropical terrain with majestic mountain gorillas for thousands of years. Some anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribes such as the Batwa have existed in the equatorial forests of Africa for 60,000 years or more. The Batwa way of life predated farming and livestock-keeping; they were hunter-gatherers who depended on the forest’s natural resources for their livelihood.
In 1992, the Batwa living situation drastically changed when their home the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was made a World Heritage Site in order to save the endangered mountain gorillas. The Ugandan Government determined that to protect the gorillas – one of their national treasures- the Batwa would have to move out of the forest. The impact on the Batwa people was devastating. Having no titles to the land, the Batwa were evicted from the forest and given no compensation. Located in western Uganda, the Basua community was similarly removed from their forest home. Finding themselves moved from one location to another, the Basua struggle to cope with the modern world and continually battle health crises.