24 Jul 2014

Baka

 

 community map

 


 

The Name | Demography and Geography |Environment, Economy and Natural Resources | Mythology and History | The Language | Society: Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions | Marriage | Birth | Naming | Divorce | Relationships | Death | Social and Political Organisation, Traditional Authority, etc. | Spirituality, Belief and Customs | Culture: Arts, Music, Literature, Handicraft | Neighbours and Relationships |Latest Developments | Diaspora


Demography and Geography

The Baka number about 25,000 to 30,000 and live in and around Maridi and in Yei River Counties but also have their territory extending into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) around the area of Watsa and Faradje.

Environment, Economy and Natural Resources

The climate regime is equatorial with tropical rain forest vegetation due to the fertile soil. The Baka are sedentary agriculturalists engaged in subsistence production of food crops: sorghum, cassava, telebun, simsim, beans, maize, sweet potatoes, groundnuts, palm oil, coffee, etc. The Baka keep fowl and very few goats. The natural resource potentials include timber and other forest products.

Mythology and History

There is very little so far to indicate their origin. However, the Baka are said to have migrated from Central African Republic in the company of the Bongo, Jur ‘Beli, Moro Kodo and others. They are believed to have moved south-westwards to their present location as a result of Azande pressure.

Language

Linguistically the Baka language is related to the Bongo, Moro Kodo and Jur ‘Beli referred to as central Sudanic group.

Society, Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions

The Baka society is organised into agnatically but loosely linked kinship of which the family is the smallest unit. The Baka unlike the Jur ‘Beli' do not establish villages but each family lives solitarily. This definitely influences the social practices and evolution of tradition.
The Baka are predominantly agrarian and the most important social events that bring them together include hunting, marriage celebrations, funerals and funeral rituals, etc.

Socio-political Organisation, Traditional Authority

The Baka have no clear political or traditional administrative institutions. The fortune teller (bange) is the most important institution that wields power over the people.

Spirituality, Beliefs and Customs

The Baka are highly superstitious emphasising the power of the spirits. However, they rely more on medicinal beliefs and fortune-tellers - bange. They obey and follow without question whatever the bange orders them to do.

Culture: Arts, Music, Literature, Handicraft

The Baka culture is essentially orally transmitted through the generations through song, music, dance and other social practices reflecting virtue and self esteem and individual dignity.

Neighbours and Foreign Relations and Co-operation etc

The Baka neighbour Mundu, Avukaya, Moru and the Azande. The relation with the Azande has been less cordial.

Latest Development

The long running civil war was the most recent episode that affected the lives of the Baka people. It has caused death, social disruption and displacement of families.

Diaspora

Small communities of Baka are found as refugees in the Congo.
 

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