Departmental Bulletin Paper We Descended the Ivindo: Baka Migration and Mobility to Northeastern Gabon from the 1960s to Today

WEIG, Doerte

38 ( 2 )  , pp.63 - 96 , 2017-06 , The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
This article provides an account of the migratory history from the 1960s until today of the Baka groups now living along the River Ivindo in northeastern Gabon. Important sites and routes in the migratory processes of these Baka, their clan members, and ancestors are documented and causes for staying or leaving, past and present are detailed. The historical analysis shows there to be three principal factors in Baka migrations and mobilities: firstly, toma, following family or friends; secondly, the type and quality of the inter-ethnic relations; and, thirdly, the search for a better life defined by economic parity and freedom from violence. This long-term study evidences the extended periods of Baka staying in one location when they feel at-ease, suggesting that particular social values guide Baka migratory movements, and highlighting the significance of the ‘social environment’ in conceptualising (Baka) migration. Furthermore, Baka sedentism, at least in northeastern Gabon, is shown to be more widespread and self-generated than previously assumed.

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