Batwa Artisan Work
The Batwa or Twa people are a small ethnic group also known as Batwa Pygmies. For about 60,000 years and until very recently, these people lived as hunter-gatherers in harmony with their environment in the lush equatorial forests of the Great Lakes area, a territory located between the borders of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda.
In the last centuries, the area of these forests was considerably reduced to create new cultivation areas, with small portions of isolated forest remaining. This strongly affected both the Batwa people and all biodiversity, but in 1992, after the Bwindi forest was declared a World Heritage Site, the life of the Batwa people in south-western Uganda changed forever. The aim was to protect 350 endangered mountain gorillas living on the edge of this forest. As a result, the Batwa were evicted from the park with nowhere to go, no possession of any land and no compensation.
Many Batwa died in the first years of exile, the difficult adaptation to a strange world was for many a blow from which they could not recover. Twenty years later the consequences are still lingering. In addition to the continuing trauma of being uprooted from their homes and the jungle, many have to deal with prejudice and the deep-rooted social exclusion they suffer in this country. Nevertheless, efforts have been made by various organizations to help these people, land has been purchased, hospitals have been built for them and attempts have been made to integrate them into local society.
During a visit to the Batwa community in the Buhoma village, The Jungle Journal decided to purchase artisanal crafts and pieces to support the community.
These artisinal products are handmade by the community and consist of jewelry, wood pieces, and baskets that are all created with natural materials collected from their forest home.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these pieces you can find them available on our store:
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE BATWA COMMUNITY, AND THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE JUNGLE JOURNAL