by Stuart Butler
Deep in the jungles of Central Africa dwell the Baka (Bayaka, BaAka) - a group of people so mythical that many outsiders assume they are nothing but the product of an overly fertile Hollywood imagination. More commonly called pygmies (a term that is considered condescending and disrespectful), the Baka are the original inhabitants of the jungles of the Congo Basin, where they have lived seemingly forever.
For countless generations, the forest has provided for all of their material and spiritual needs, and they have always used it sustainably. Today, however, great changes are afoot in the region, and the future of the Baka’s traditional lifestyle is in grave danger.
Click the first image to start the slideshow; hover over the images to read the captions.
Over the course of three years writer and photojournalist Stuart Butler made several journeys to Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and the DRC to learn what he could of the issues facing traditional Baka lifestyle. To see more of his work, visit his websites at: www.stuartbutlerjournalist.com and www.walkingwiththemaasai.com.