THE EFFECTS OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM ON PYGMIES OF CAMEROON

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ABSTRACT

The Cameroon Pygmies like many indigenous groups of the World are facing threats and mar-ginalization or discrimination on the land they first possessed by their neighboring farmer´s group known as, the Bantus and the Cameroon Government policies as a result of tourism de-velopment. This study examines The Effects of Sustainable Tourism on the Pygmies of Came-roon as the government pushes its policy to invest more in tourism, hoping to make Cameroon a tourist destination by 2035. The tourism growth will undoubtedly bring revenue to the Cam-eroon government but may result to further threats to the culture of the Pygmies whose terri-tory is today being reduced in the creation of national parks and lumbering industry´s activi-ties by the government or foreign investors.

Furthermore, it is noticeable that music has been and remains an important aspect of the Pygmy culture. Some tourists have helped to push the Pygmy cultural music into the market and so, this is reducing the poverty level of the area, ranked as high. Two musical bands available today in the Baka Pygmy communities are the BakaGbine and the Baka beyond, whose music have gone round the nation and around the world.

The research method involved in this work is qualitative analysis. The data collection for this study involves primary and secondary data collections in the form of theme interview, struc-tural observation, documentary by camera, literature and article review. Some organizations or stakeholders of the tourism industry in Cameroon and Finland were interviewed via repre-sentatives from whom the data was collected, composed and segmented to get the results.

The findings reveal that the Pygmies who are original indigenous people of the Congo Basin and traditionally hunters-gatherers are abandoning their culture because their land has been taken away by the government in national parks creation and lumbering industry´s activities. As a result of the pressure, the people are now practicing semi-sedentary settlement and go-ing gathering or hunting only for short periods of the year. At the roadside settlements, they have turned to practice agriculture like the neighboring Bantus but are not good at farming and so, this increases the poverty level.

Key words: Cameroon, Cultural Heritance (tangible and intangible), Indigenous people, Pyg-mies, Sustainable tourism.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Introduction
            1.1 Purpose of the study
            1.2 Research Method
            1.3 Cameroon as miniature Africa
            1.4 The Mbororo Fulani pastoralists
            1.5 The Pygmy hunters-gatherers

2 Definition of the indigenous People

3 Human rights and the Pygmies

4 The Pygmies of Cameroon

5 Cultural heritage of the Pygmies
            5.1 Intangible Culture of the Pygmies
                        5.1.1 Music culture
                        5.1.2 The Pygmy Nomadic Culture
                        5.1.3 Semi-sedentary lifestyle
                        5.1.4 Language
            5.2 Tangible Culture of the Pygmies
                        5.2.1 The Pygmy Huts
                        5.2.2 Musical Instruments
                        5.2.3 Sacred Places

6 Research methods and conduction
            6.1 Research design
            6.2 Method of data collection
            6.3 Data Analysis Method

7 Results
            7.1 Socio-demographic background of respondents
            7.2 Cameroon Pygmy identity and tourism effects on the lifestyle of the people
            7.3 The actions of Cameroon government to improve tourism in the Pygmy area
            7.4 Protecting the Pygmies from the Negative impacts of Tourism
            7.5 Tourism development and the future of the Pygmies

8 Beneficial and harmful tourism

9 Discussion and conclusion

10 References
            10.1 Illustrations
            10.2 Figures
            10.3 Tables

            10.4 Appendices


1       Introduction 
This research aims to find out the effects of sustainable tourism on the Pygmies of Cameroon. The Pygmies are the original settlers of the Congo Basin and are traditionally hunters-gatherers. According to Pyhälä(2012, 14), " The Baka of this region are facing an increasingly uncertain future as their traditional lands have almost entirely been taken away from them, mainly as allocations to international logging and mining companies, as parts of Protected areas, and the remainder as agricultural or agro forestry plots primarily for Bantu farmers." The creation of national parks or protected areas in the Pygmy community without consulting the locals for tourism purpose are some of the problems resulting from tourism development in Cameroon that poses threats to the culture of the Pygmies.

However, in this research, the interviewees have to answer six questions as follows; who are the Pygmies of Cameroon? how is their lifestyle affected by tourism? what has the Cameroon government done to improve tourism in the Pygmy area? how do tourism stakeholders protect the Pygmies from the negative impacts of tourism? when and how will tourism be beneficial to both the Pygmies and the tourists? and how they see the future of Pygmies in the changing world?.


The data collection for this study involves primary and secondary data collections in the form of a theme interview, structural observation, documentary by camera, literature and article review. Theme interview is used to ensure that the same general areas of information are collected from each interviewee.

1.1     Purpose of the study



The work is a continuation of a previous research done by former students of Laurea Universi-ty of applied sciences in Finland. The authors, Akuri&Ndingi(2013), both Cameroonians re-searched on how to market Cameroon as a cultural destination to Finnish tourists or market. However, the authors did not focus on the indigenous people of Cameroon, with very attrac-tive cultures covered in this work. Being a Cameroonian and a Tourism student, this work in-tends to expose the rich culture of the Pygmy indigenous groups of Cameroon and why their culture may disappear in the nearest future.

In fact, I have chosen the Pygmies, also known as “indigenous forest people of Cameroon” to develop my thesis research work because they are marginalized or discriminated groups of Cameroonians. My aim is to examine deeply the effects of sustainable tourism on these peo-ple.

It is an additional credit to Cameroon with a sophisticated cultural diversity as a tourist desti-nation at the moment which the country is hoping to become an international tourist destina-tion by 2035 with several events to be hosted in the future. Such events include the African female football championship in 2016 and the African cup of nation’s football championship in 2019 to be hosted by Cameroon.



1.2     Research Method


Generally, there are four methods of data collection that are fully accepted in academic re-search observed under two main headings as primary or secondary sources. Primary sources are; interviews, questionnaires and personal observations meanwhile, secondary or written sources involve interrogation of literature databases.

Interview can be seen as significant consideration or discussion among two or more individu-als. In fact, the use of interviews helps researchers to gather effective and of course, accu-rate data that is significant to their research goal and questions. Also, according to Saunders, Lewis, &Thornhill(2007, 310), where the researcher hasn’t explained yet in a precise manner such as research goal and questions, could be well explained by interviews. There are several types of interviews; Group interviews, Systematic observation and Letters.


Group interview is any conversation among group of people. The researcher ensures that, all participants are given the chance to express their thoughts and answer the questions which will enhance data collection. To support this, Saunders, Lewis, &Thornhill(2007, 338-339)...

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