Babinga Pygmies

Binga Pygmies / Babinga

Binga Pygmies / Babinga / Mbenga / Mbenga / Bambenga

The Binga, also called in its plural form Babinga, are the pygmy peoples located to the west of Central Africa in the territory of the Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Gabon nations. They are also called mbenga, bambenga or babinda, but babinga is the most used term. In the Congo, bambenga is used as a generic term and synonymous with pygmy.

Like other pygmies, they inhabit the tropical rain forest and maintain various relationships with this jungle nature. Most continue to lead traditionally nomadic lives, hunting and gathering in the forest for most of the year and living in semi-permanent camps with their Bantu neighbors for the rest of the year. In exchange for the Bantu farmers' bananas, macabo and cassava (non-essential, but highly prized foods), the Babinga offer them meat and honey obtained from the forest.

Armed with crossbows, spears, or the occasional rifle, they set out on the hunt: from small antelope to large animals such as elephants, wild hogs, and gorillas. Your economy is sustained on those items that can be instantly obtained, crafted, and discarded. Musical instruments, strings, containers to collect fruits or honey, materials for their huts, and medicines must be obtained from the surroundings.

Babinga People



The Babinga are a culturally homogeneous but linguistically heterogeneous group. Comparing Aka and Baka languages, a common vocabulary is found despite the differences; especially in areas related to hunting and gathering. This allows us to deduce the existence of a common language called baakaa, in which it is being reconstructed.


Genetically, the Babinga would be the pygmies with the oldest origin, as they are extremely divergent from all other human populations. They represent the oldest divergence after that of the Khoisan and would have colonized Central Africa more than 70,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals that the Babinga have mostly matrilineal3​ L1 (mtDNA) and patrilineal4​ B (Y-DNA) ancestry, showing little influence from other African populations.



Aka/biaka: Also called yaka/bayaka, yaga/bayaga, beká, yakwa, yakpa, etc. located in the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic and speak Bantu languages related to the Lingala language.

Baka/bibaya: They are in Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, they speak Ubangi languages of the Ngbaka type.

Gyele/bagyeli, Kola/bakola, bako, likoya, are located in the South of Cameroon and speak Bantu languages such as Ngoumba, of the Makaa-Njem type.

Koya/bakoya: They live in the Republic of the Congo and the border with Gabon. The Koya language is a Bantu language related to Ungom.

Bedzan or Medzan: They are from central Cameroon and their language is non-Bantu Bantoid.