The Bambuti people were the original inhabitants of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the oldest national park in Africa whose boundaries date back to 1925 when it was first carved out by King Albert of Belgium. But forbidden from living or hunting inside, the Bambuti now face repression from both park rangers and armed groups.
It is late afternoon when a light drizzle begins to fall over a group of young men seated together in Mudja, a village that lies approximately 20 kilometres north of Goma on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. Mudja is home to a community of around 40 families of indigenous Bambuti, also known as ‘pygmies.’*
Essomba Dominique, a Baka man from Mindourou in Cameroon’s East Region, sits dulled-eyed in front of his hut, known in the Baka language as the ‘mongoulou’.
When Daniel Mgwape, a Baka man in Mindourou of the East Region of Cameroon, felt like drinking local liquor commonly called ‘kitoko’, he simply took his biometric voter ID card to the village bar tender.