Bedzang

Introduction

The Bedzang are also known as the Tikar and generically as a Pygmy people. They live predominantly in the Ngambe-Tikar region of Central Cameroon and their population is thought to be very small with estimates as low as 1,000.

In this region a number of languages are spoken including Twumwu, Badogo and others; but the Bedzang instead speak Tikar which is a Bantu language. This has led some to know them as Tikar; but they are in fact a distinct group.

Traditionally the Bedzang were semi-nomadic hunter gatherers; but in recent times, with threats posed to their traditional land rights, they are becoming increasingly sedentary. This is a common feature amongst Cameroon’s ‘Pygmy’ peoples. The Bedzang have practiced small scale farming for generations now due to these changes and their main cash crops include coffee and cocoa. However, they are often unable achieve a good price for these products and to trade fairly in their local and global market systems. Furthermore, their livelihoods themselves continue to be threatened by logging concessions on or close to their lands. In the absence fair market participation and an outside respect for Bedzang lands their culture, language and existence remains at risk.

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