Aka People - Lifestyle

Lifestyle

The Aka tribe gain sustenance from 63 plant species, 20 insect species, honey from 8 species of bees, and 28 species of game. They also trade with their farmer neighbors for agricultural goods and, more recently, often plant their own small seasonal crops.

These hunter-gatherers have a symbiotic market relationship with neighboring villagers (collectively known as Ngandu). While the Ngandu are primarily farmers, they will also occasionally hunt for bushmeat, and also keep domesticated livestock. They exchange their village goods, including crops of manioc, plantain, yams, taro, maize, cucumbers, squash, okra, papaya, mango, pineapple, palm oil, and rice for the bushmeat, honey, and other forest products the Aka collect. There are over 15 different village tribes with whom the approximately 30,000 Aka associate.

Their hunter-gatherer lifestyle exposes them to blood of jungle fauna, thus they have among the highest rates of seropositivity for Ebola virus in the world.

Fathers of the Aka tribe spend more time in close contact to their babies than in any other known society. Aka fathers have their infant within arms reach 47% of the time and have been described as the "best Dads in the world." Males unable to obtain multiple wives as a result of belonging to the lowest rungs of the economy substitute resources for parental obligations. It has been observed that they pick up, cuddle, and play with their babies at least five times as often as fathers in other societies. It is believed that this is due to the strong bond between Aka husband and wife. Throughout the day, couples share hunting, food preparation, and social and leisure activities. The more time Aka parents spend together, the greater the father's loving interaction with his baby.

Unlike the Mbuti pygmies of the eastern Congo (who speak only the language of the tribes with whom they are affiliated), the Aka speak their own language along with whichever of the approximately 15 Bantu peoples they are affiliated.

In 2003, the oral traditions of the Aka were proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

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