A Vibrant tribute to the indigenous “Pygmy” woman by Vanessa Mavila

Pygmy women hold an important role in almost all areas of Pygmy society and culture and they are holders of ancestral knowledge in terms of environmental protection. We talk about them very little but they are courageous and hardened, they give life in the very heart of the forest, far from the medical staff, at the foot of a tree, screaming, biting their lips, and struggling without real assistance. She travels long distances alone to collect her baby’s birth certificate from urban centres. Strong Woman, they provide essential knowledge on the choice of ponds to preserve and the species of fish to reintroduce.

They also play a role of guardians and denounce the illegal cutting of trees, or discourage practices harmful to the environment. At the family level, they are responsible for gathering and fishing to provide daily food, especially during the dry season. The indigenous Pygmy woman is the pillar of her family. She plays a key role since it is often the new husband who moves to live in the camp where the wife is from.

Moreover, since the introduction of money in the life of the Pygmies, it is still she who takes the responsibility of managing the savings of the household, she therefore makes all the decisions of the family. She takes care of the education of the children, the cooking and the care to be given, just as she is responsible for the construction of the huts for the household each time the family changes camp. At the level of the camp, women also have a predominant place. Indeed, unlike men, they spend most of their time in the villages where they take care of agricultural and domestic tasks, so they are easier to reach. This is why they really have a say in Pygmy society, both at home and in community gatherings.

The Aboriginal woman carries a fundamental voice. They are generally counted on to transmit messages, report problems or communicate on prevention, in the context of HIV or hygiene for example, because they are generally more inclined to integrate important aspects for development: they are better students, they learn to cultivate the land, to save, they make plans for the future for themselves and for their children… In traditional Pygmy society, women are synonymous with bringing good luck, especially for hunting. It is therefore important to be at peace with his wife before going hunting. “Women are at the center of society and their influence is great” The Pygmy woman therefore plays a crucial role in the life of the group, and this, at all levels, even if the Pygmy society has the general habit of valuing the individual as an individual in his own right and not according to his sex. Stop discriminating against these people. Let us accompany them in the transmission of their knowledge.

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