The Twa People

Africa is such a beautiful, diverse continent. One of the things we love most in this journey is not only teaching others about our culture, but learning about other people and cultures. Today’s spotlight is on the Twa. 

Also known as the Batwa tribe, the Twa are thought to be descendants of the original inhabitants of the equatorial rainforest (source).

Twa make up around one percent of the population of Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, and overall, it is estimated that there are around 80,000 Twa people in Africa (source). The Twa live in or near agricultural villages. Some hunt for sustenance, while others are known to create and sell pottery. Hand making traditional pottery is a large part of Twa culture that has been practiced for generations.

The Twa are also referred to as “the forgotten people” because their suffering from the Rwandan war and genocide has gone largely unrecognized. “Many Twa people were killed in the 1994 war and genocide. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) estimates that about 10,000 people, more than a third of the Twa population of Rwanda, were killed and that a similar number fled the country as refugees (source).”

Twa maintain a rich and distinctive cultural tradition centered on songs, dance and music. They speak several different languages, depending on the country or region in which they find themselves (source). An egalitarian group, no one has authority over another and all are free to access forest resources as they wish. They show great respect for one another, and children are raised by the everyone in the group. 

Today and everyday, we honor the Twa people. 

Photo via google images