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Congo and the Kuba

One of the most beautiful places on earth is the intersection of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda.  Primates abound, and the terraced hills are rich with coffee and tea farms.  Years back, being fascinated by Mountain Gorillas, I hired a pilot to fly me into Bwindi. At the time armed guards were required and one day mine asked if I would be interested in taking a hike. They assured me I would enjoy it because we could see the “pijamees”. I’m always up for a little exercise so I agreed.

We hiked for hours through the “Impenetrable Forest” in solid drizzle. Eventually we took refuge from the rain in the hut of a medicine man. Much later we caught up with the “pijamees”, who turned out to be PYGMIES – tiny people with bat-like faces, barely up to my shoulder.  Most interesting hike I’ve ever had.

During this trip I learned about the Kuba – a people that migrated from the North and are still ruled by a structured kingdom.  The Kuba and sub-tribe Shoowa are believers in the Sky Father who created everything in the universe.

But what captured me more even than their unique brand of religion was their textiles.  Woven from palm fibers and native grasses and then dyed with the pigment of ground wood, the textiles are used as dowries, funerary gifts and as a form of both currency and prestige.

Our antique Kuba and Shoowa textiles have been given a second life as pillows. Each is truly unique and special.  As are the people that created them.