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page 27 of 67
The Pygmies lived
for more than half a million years as hunters and gatherers
in the rain forests of Central Africa and are one of the few
remaining indigenous peoples of the world. Furthermore they
may be the World's first monotheists hundreds of thousands
of years before their late Bantu-speaking neighbors adopted
Islam and Christianity.
The 6,250 surviving Pygmies in
Uganda were evicted in the 1960s when their forests were
turned into National Parks for gorillas. There was no
government re-settlement plans for the Batwas and as you can
see in my photos they barely hang unto life on steep slopes
at the margins of their former forests - squatting on land
owned by often very racist neighboring ethnic groups.
Average life span is 29 years. They resort to begging or
selling crafts to tourists, but are very prone to
manipulation from all sorts of "well wishers" - including
photographers like me - even though they need "genuine help"
rather than "handouts" that perpetuate the begging culture
and the low self esteem they have as a result of
internalizing the racist views of both their neighboring
tribes and us well wishers who see them deepest down as
functionally inferior. (As always in racism the victim then
lives up to the expectations of their oppressor).
Look here how at least I
in Pygmy eyes looked very