Traditions and Culture


  • The official language spoken in the Congo is French but there are other languages spoken, such as; Lingala, Azande, Chokwe, Kongo and Luba. ¹
  • The major exports are copper, cobalt, diamonds, crude oil and coffee ¹
  • People from the Congo rain forests are called the Pygmies ² external image ndoki.gif

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  • Pygmies are possibly the shortest people on earth. The height of an average pygmy is around four feet. ²
  • Pygmies are hunters and gatherers. This means that they hunt and kill their food and gather berries and other types of vegetation. ²
  • The men do the hunting and the women do the gathering. ²
  • The pygmies are a big part of the Congo culture, this link: will give you more information on pygmies. ²
  • In Congo, the forest is sacred. The group Mbuti are group who live near the forests of Congo. They are called the bamiki bandura, or the "children of the forest". ³
  • The Mbuti people are a small separate section of the Pygmy tribes. ³

Mbuti Pymies in Epulu, Congo

  • This is a short video showing the Mbuti people, and the environment where they live.⁶
  • The build their homes from branches and leaves (which is shown in the video above)⁴
  • They wear little to no clothing, because it is always hot in the rain forest ⁴
  • The Mbuti women prepare dyes from roots and plants from the forest and dye cloth and barkcloth. Barkcloth is prepared by the Mbuti men who get bark from six different trees which is hammered with ivory hammers and smoothed out. It is a form of art in the Mbuti tribe, not clothing.³
  • The Mbuti people are honey gatherers. A bird called the Greater Honeyguide shows the Mbuti people where the honey is.³


Babongo Pygmies of Congo- Traditional Instrument Demo

  • This is a short video showing Babongo Pygmies and the type of music that they play.⁶
  • Congolese music is referred to by rumba or rock-rumba⁵
  • In World War II African musical styles like rumba that came from Cuban Latin music came to be popular.⁵

Work Cited

1. "Congo." Art and Life in Africa Information. 15 Oct. 1998. 19 Apr. 2007 <>.
2."People of the Rainforest- the Pygmies." The Congo. 19 Apr. 2007 <>.
3."The Mbuti People." Mbuti Arts and Traditions. 2003. 19 Apr. 2007 <>.
4."Rainforest People." People of the Rainforest. 2000. 20 Apr. 2007 <>.
5."Music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." Wikipedia. <>.
6. "YouTube." 23 Apr. 2007 <>.