The pygmies are among the oldest populations of Africa. They live in the tropical rainforests in D.R. Congo. They call themselves Mambuti or Efe. Egyptian records mentioned the Pygmies 4000 years ago: traders took them with them as curiosities to dance in the court of the Pharaohs where they were called "Dancers of God'. Their small stature has from earliest times engendered many fantastic stories. The white father Schebesta was one of the first people to extensively describe the authentic life of the Pygmies (1940). The American anthropologist Colin Turnbull showed us their social life (1961).
The Pygmies are hunter-gatherers and live of limited catches of small game. They hunt with flash and arrow
(sometimes with poison) and hunting nets. The hunting of big game such as buffalo and elephant has been
prohibited a long time ago.
Pygmy culture is closely connected to their 'polyphonic’ music and dance, which everybody is involved in. Besides their voices they use musical instruments such as: drums, flutes, feet bells, trumpets (molimo), mouth bows, thumb pianos, etc. Their original bark clothes (mulumba) painted with beautiful abstract patterns (see background menu) are still created and used sometimes, but western clothing is increasingly pushing away this tradition.