Background Information

Because of the large number of villages in Africa I have chosen just two on which I will focus. I think as background information it is important that the teacher as well as the students understand that the villages described in the following paragraphs are ones that are less influenced by western culture and are not the typical African communities.


Often the Mbuti (uhm-boot-ee) people are called pygmies because of their small size but they consider this to be a derogatory name and do not like to be called this. The Mbutis are forest dwellers. They call the forest their "mother and father" because it provides everything for them. They are nomadic which means they make only temporary homes and move when they need to find more food. Mbuti women and children spend their mornings and afternoon gathering mushrooms, nuts, fruits, berries and roots as they walk through the forest. The men provide meat for the group, hunting with short spears or poisoned arrows. This daily tasks are often accompanied by singing. Much time is passed in the village playing games, singing and telling stories. The Mbutis also make bark cloth by using the bark from various trees. They soften it by using water or heat and then pound it until it is soft like cloth and then the women of the village decorate it.



The Fulani people live in the grasslands of West Africa. Opposed to the Mbuti the Fulanis are taller and have a slightly different skin color. The group of Fulanis I would like to discuss are nomadic. They travel where the climate and land is best for their cattle. Cattle are very important to the Fulani people. A man's social status is measured by how many cows he owns. Often times young boys will be found singing to their cows out in the fields. A women's social status is measured by the number of children she bares. Many women marry young. The boys and girls at a young age become apprentices in the camps, corrals and pastures.