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Africa

2012-06-21

AFRICA/CONGO - Biso na Biso: the voice of the forest promotes relations between Bantu and Pygmies

Pokola (Agenzia Fides) - A community radio station that broadcasts from Pokola, 800 kilometers north of the Congolese capital Brazzaville, is committed to promoting and facilitating the understanding between the majority of the Bantu peoples and the minority indigenous of Pygmies. Launched in 2008 by the anthropologist Jerome Lewis and by The Forest Trust, Radio Biso na Biso, which in Lingala language means "among us", aims to soften relations between the Bantu and the Pygmies who live in the forest. The radio station broadcasts in 12 dialects and promotes the cultures and languages in danger of extinction. It employs about 10 people, six Bantu and four Pygmies, who broadcast in their respective languages. Biso na Biso reaches about 50 000 people within 100 km, covering the northeastern department of Sangha and the northern Likouala. The radio station also seeks to promote awareness for sustainable management of natural resources. According to local data, Pokola has about 13 000 inhabitants, 10% of whom are indigenous. The Fund for Population Activities of the United Nations says that the natives are threatened with extinction and are 2% of the population of Congo, approximately 3.6 million inhabitants. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 21/6/2012)

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