“Without Our Forest, We Have No Lifetime, We Disappear”: Cameroon’s Baka Neighborhood

*Jean-Jacques, a member of a person of Cameroon’s Baka Communities in the Ngoyla Mintom area, talks about getting pushed out of his ancestral forests, and the problems his people face on a daily basis through lack of land legal rights and absence of access to meals, medicine and education and learning.


“Life in my Baka community is getting tougher and tougher. We reside mostly from the resources of the forest, and with our forest is increasingly exploited by foresters, and as the point out carries on to create nationwide parks and reserves, the forest no lengthier supplies us with adequate foods and medicinal crops. With the introduction of major forestry devices, the activity animals have disappeared. Poverty has become recognized, and we must convert ourselves into farmers, where by yet again we experience major complications joined to land conflicts and absence of land. Our Bantu neighbours hold all the lands. Our legal rights of use of the forest, land and purely natural sources are dismissed.

“We are a sharing group, and we attempt to share what we locate in the forest to try to eat. Through specified occasions of the calendar year there is still plenty of meals (wild mango, mushrooms, wild yams, rats, fish, leaves and roots). Considering the fact that our local community is escalating, we divide into teams to go tenting in the center of the forest to inventory up on food items. For the duration of these outings, households consume very well.

“Every Baka depends and proceeds to count on the forest. It is she who makes our identity…She is our soul, without the need of it we have no life, we disappear.”

“But our legal rights of use of the forest are becoming prohibited by conservation initiatives and condition products and services.

“Every Baka depends on, and will continue on to count on, the forest. It is she who tends to make our identification. All our sources arrive from her: fruit, leaves, honey, meat, fish, medicinal plants. All our sacred trees, cultures and other conventional rites are practiced in the heart of the forest. God designed us the guardians of the forest. She is our soul, without the need of her we have no life, we vanish. This proper to worship and to partake in our common rituals is significantly staying overlooked.

“By driving us out of the forest to make us settle on the side of the roadways up coming to the villages, everything in our local community has modified. Our long term has been sealed by the community authorities on the foundation of an economic and political option. Our expulsion from the forest has disrupted our life. There is a genuine decline of price in our local community. Individualism is getting extra and extra ground, to the detriment of solidarity and sharing. Healers are losing their knowledge of plants. Generational conflicts, marginalization and poverty have come to be common. We are struggling with a excellent challenge for our survival. All these improvements came with the socio-financial and political difficulties of the working day. This right to lifetime is also violated by the community authorities.

“My local community works the land, but on a little scale. It need to be emphasized that we are not farmers by character, but hunter-gatherers. Numerous of us are not but adapted to the way of living of farmers with the depletion of the resources of the forest and in particular for the reason that of not remaining in a position to freely obtain the forest, we are obliged to glimpse for other signifies of survival. There is expanding pressure on my community’s accessibility to land, all-natural resources and the right to advancement.”

The key complications we see these days in my group are:

  • Deficiency of Citizenship of the Cameroonian Point out
  • Absence of a civil position centre to allow us to enjoy our fundamental legal rights as citizens as all the rest of the Cameroonian populace
  • Lack of indigenous public institutions
  • Discrimination in modern society, in employment and in occupations
  • Absence of access to appropriate training and absence of educational facilities at all ranges
  • Deficiency of consultation and participation in the management of public affairs
  • Marginalization in our entry of public products and services
  • Deficiency of access to social and financial enhancement
  • Deficiency of accessibility to justice
  • No access of our youthful folks to work because of our position as “Pygmies”
  • Illiteracy of the indigenous inhabitants
  • Land conflicts with our Bantu neighbours and agro-industrialists
  • Lack of useable land for the fields and structures of our properties
  • Absence of key overall health providers
  • Violence, detention and arrest, search and torture by ‘eco-guards’ and protected-location officials
  • Prohibition to practice our classic functions of survival in the forest, which has turn out to be a guarded space.


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*Name changed for protection purposes.

Featured image is from FPP.

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“Without Our Forest, We Have No Lifetime, We Disappear”: Cameroon’s Baka Neighborhood

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