Twa

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Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Rukiga

7% Christian[1]

Hutu, Tutsi

The Twa, also known as Batwa, are a pygmy people who were the oldest recorded inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of central Africa. Current populations are found in the states of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2000, they numbered approximately 80,000 people, making them a significant minority group in these countries[2].

There are also a number of southern Twa populations in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana living in swamps and deserts far from the forest. These are little studied, and this article deals only with the Twa of the Great Lakes region.

Contents

History

When the Hutu, a Bantu-speaking people, arrived in the region, they subjugated the Twa.[citation needed] Around the fifteenth century AD, the Tutsi, a cushite-speaking people, subsequently arrived and dominated both the Twa and the Hutu.[citation needed] The Twa speak the same language, Kinyarwanda, as the Hutu and Tutsi. For several hundred years, the Twa have been a very small minority in the area (currently 1% in Rwanda and Burundi) and have had little political role.

The Twa are often ignored in discussions about the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis, which reached its height in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.[2] About 30% of the Twa population of Rwanda died in the fighting.[3]

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