Pygmy musicians forced to stay in zoo

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2007

A pan-African music festival held in the Congolese capital of Brazzaville has aroused much outrage from civil rights groups for making 22 pygmy musicians stay in a zoo. Organisers of the week-long music festival, which ended on July 14, told the media that they had hoped to recreate the natural habitat of the pygmies by housing them in a zoo. Other musicians playing at the festival were provided hotel rooms.

The pygmy musicians said they had expected to be housed properly. It is the fifth year they have performed at the festival and previously they have been treated the same as other guests.

"We can't live here. There are lots of mosquitoes here. In the city we can't stay in a forest," one of the musicians David Motambo told bbc. Roger Bouka Owoko from the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights said the pygmies had to collect firewood in the zoo to cook their food, and were being stared at and filmed by tourists.After the outcry, the authorities shifted the musicians to a local school.

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