The Batwa Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

The Batwa are thought to be the first inhabitants of western Uganda forest especial Bwindi impenetrable forest, Mgahinga and Semliki forest found in the western region of Uganda. Many years back, the Batwa pygmies have been in the forest surviving on hunted meat and gathered fruits.

Originally, the Batwa were the shortest group of people in the Uganda but time came when they get intermarried with other tribes like Bakiga, Bakonjo, Banyankole among others. The result for lovely relation ship with other tribes is the physical appearance improvement in terms of height, beauty and change of minds – therefore, it is not surprising to find tall Batwa.

The Intermarriage also brain washed their mind and distortion of the Batwa typical culture and in 1991, the Batwa in Uganda were formally evicted from the forests they have relied on culturally, physically, and spiritually since time immemorial. As a result, most were left landless and impoverished. Many resorted to begging, or took up work as laborers on other people’s land, to survive. Today, the Batwa experience ongoing erosion of their cultural, spiritual, and social traditions, along with widespread social, political, and economic marginalization.

The major aim of the eviction was to preserve the wildlife like animals, birds and forests and to prevent farther encroachment as the number of the batwa people went on increasing as they multiplied- producing. It is well known that mountain Gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga Forests are the chief foreign exchange fetcher in the country so, needed high level of protection.

Due to increased level of civilization in Uganda because of education among others, the Batwa went on realizing the major importance of wildlife and so changed their attitude towards hunting, cutting and burning forests and today, they share part of the profits from tourism.

Today, the Batwa people also act as chief tourist attraction in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as they are called upon to entertain visitors in terms of demonstrating hunting techniques, gather honey, point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups. Entertainments through music, dance and drama, tourists are invited to their typical home stead and exhibits their daily ways of life among others.

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