Film: 8529

Places + Locations | 1930 | Sound | B/W


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Pygmies in Africa 1930's

An educational ethnographic account of a tribe of Pygmies from Central Africa near the Congo River demonstrating social and cultural aspects of their life including hunting, trading and craftsmanship.

A woman builds the frame of a hut from tree saplings and a child brings large malanga leaves for the woman to provide a covering for the hut. A woman carrying a baby on her back digs out a vine root which she collects in a handmade basket. The voice over informs that "instead of shopping in markets or cultivating gardens, pygmy women get their fruits and vegetables directly from the dense forest".

A small group of men are sat together making bows and arrows. They concoct a poison from a particular vine root which is used to cover the tip of an arrow. One man spins a tethered target around his body to simulate a moving animal, while other tribesmen practice throwing spears at the moving target.

In preparation for a hunting expedition, a woman paints the face of her husband. The band of men are led by the chief of the tribe to the hunt. A father and son leave the hunting group to collect a drink of water when the father spies a monkey in a tree and spears it successfully. Another two me spot a pygmy antelope which is speared and taken back to the group. Additionally, two other scouts find a pair of tortoises. The tortoises are caught and taken back to the group to be cooked on the fire and eaten.

End of part 1

09:46:00 Part 2

A pygmy man climbs up a vine to reach a beehive while others wait at the bottom to collect the fallen hive and enjoy the honey. A cloth is produced from a layer of bark, the cloth is used for trading and barter. A band of men collect their hidden elephant trunks, the ivory being a valuable commodity to the group as it is used for barter. Each man carries a single tusk which is longer than the height of the man carrying it. A witch doctor produces a shrine to the forest spirit Mungu to help control the weather and ensure the safe return of the trading party. At the trading post a variety of articles and foods are available including, manioc roots, spears, bows and arrows and bark cloth. They pygmies trade with another tribe and return back to their settlement. Upon their return, the witch doctor gives thanks to the forest god.

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