The Mbuti of Northeast Zaire

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The Mbuti of Northeast Zaire Efrem Terrell ANT 101 Prof. Robert Moon Nov 20, 2011 The Mbuti of Northeast Zaire The Mbuti are Bantu-speaking hunter-gatherers living in the southern part of the Ituri Forest of the northeast part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire). While their traditional way of life is often described as centering on hunting and gathering of wild food resources, the Mbuti rely for a large part of their subsistence on cultivated foods acquired in exchange from village-living horticulturalists. Most cultivated foods are acquired by Mbuti women, who in return provide forest products for the villagers or work in the villagers’ gardens. This type of reciprocal relationship dates back hundreds and possibly thousands of years, and occurs among all Pygmies in Africa except for those who have recently settled in villages and begun to grow their own food (Cultural Survival). The Mbuti are considered to be a foraging group of people or better known as hunters-gatherers because they depends primarily on wild food for subsistence. The Mbuti people are still around today because everything they do, say and portray is reflective of the rain forest, although the Mbuti’s economic organization is simple, their social organization on the other hand is not. From their beliefs and values to their social and economic structures, the Mbuti rely on their knowledge to survive (Harako 1976). The climate is divided into a rainy season from April to November and a dry season from December to March. The rain falls two out of three in the rainy season and one out of three in the dry season. The Mbuti mainly stay near villages in the rainy season, working as field hands for the villagers, and hunting and gathering in the nearby forest, sometimes moving to forest camps for intensive net hunting
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