The Batwa are an indigenous people of the Great Lakes region of tropical Africa. Formerly hunter-gatherers, they were expelled from their ancestral forests to make way for conservation and tourism projects. They experience extreme racial discrimination from their neighbours, poverty, landlessness and unequal access to education and healthcare. None benefit from mechanisms to put back a percentage of tourist money into local community development projects.
Three communities made films, facilitated by trainees on a Participatory Video workshop in Kisoro. CLICK HERE to watch their video.
This film was made as part of a training in Participatory Video for field staff working for UNDP SGP Uganda, as well as their local and national partners. Batwa community members and local organisations working with the Batwa were also present during the training.
Films were made over 5 days in three different communities, each with different experiences – urban living Batwa, Batwa living as rural squatters and Batwa living on donated but infertile land. Trainees helped the Batwa make the films using the methods they had been taught at a workshop in Kisoro. The resulting film was screened to local government in Kisoro and national government in Kampala.
“At this first proper encounter, we began to sense some of the key issues that would come to dominate the rest of the film. One man, whilst herding sheep, explained that of the thirty or so present, only two belonged to him, his payment from the owner being one sheep a year for his herding them on a daily basis. Later we heard other stories of shamefully low pay offered to the Batwa in their status as low caste casual labourers. They are the untouchables of Uganda, treated with racist disdain, discriminated against in their access to public services, the law and justice, and kept deliberately in subservience for the comfort and benefit of those agricultural neighbours who invaded, deforested, and evicted them from their land.
The group also filmed scenes relating to hygiene, demonstrating that the river from which they draw their drinking water is the same meagre source in which they must also bathe and wash themselves.”
Diary of Dominic Elliot
"I would like to mention that this film was made by us Batwa, I'm happy to say that no-one else made this film."
Batwa community member