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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Baka pygmy hunting rituals in southern Cameroon: how to walk side by side with the elephant
Author:Joiris, Daou V.ISNI
Geographic term:Cameroon
rites of passage
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41229823
Abstract:Among the Baka pygmies in southern Cameroon the hunt and particularly the great hunt - spear hunts looking, most notably, for elephant - is the object of an important ritual accompaniment before, during and after cynegetic activity. The Baka believe that wild animals are accompanied in the forest by spirit families of the deceased. It is to these forest powers of human origin that hunting rites are addressed. Hunting ceremonies are organized within the framework of ritual institutions of an informal nature which the Baka refer to as dances. The ethnographical elements presented here were observed between 1986 and 1991 in two Baka camps in the 'départements' of Boumba-et-Ngoko (East Province). The ceremonies observed in the Salapoumbe-Ndongo camp are described in the first part of the article while the hunting rites in the Bele camp are the subject of the second part. The historic evolution of some of these practices is considered and a comparative perspective with the pygmy ethnic group historically closest to the Baka, the Aka of the Central African Republic, and their neighbours, the Aka-Mbenzele of the Popular Republic of Congo, is introduced. The analysis of the hunting rites highlights the importance of collective music in relations between the Baka and game as well as between the Baka and spirits of the deceased. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.