Burundi: Twa Pigmy People

Like in Rwanda, there are three ethnic groups in Burundi – Tutsi, Hutu, Twa. While everybody heard about the former two during the Rwanda genocide, the twa has been almost ignored. Interestingly, it was the twa people, the pigmies from the Congo forests, hunters and gatherers, that inhabited what is now Burundi before others moved in and then colonizers arrived. Historically, the twa have been marginalized, discriminated and persecuted, their land confiscated and their traditional forest dweller lifestyle disrupted by encroaching agriculture and urbanization. They were the target during the genocide as well, sadly from both other major ethnic groups. In Burundi, the twa are confined to the forests in the north and the communities are the poorest in the country. The village we visited was lucky to have a very basic school and a community hall, still missing a lot of the basic life necessities. Nevertheless people were very friendly and very welcoming, dancing and smiling to their heart delight, happy to see the few tourist that come to visit.