Author(s): Isaac Bacirongo
Still a Pygmy is a story of love, pride and prejudice that traces the journey of BaTembo Pygmy Isaac Bacirongo from the forests of Central Africa, through the brutality of dictatorship and war, to arrival and settlement in Australia's melting pot. Isaac's inimitable style and voice draw readers into the heart of this memoir, his relationship with his wife, who survived his mother's attempts to kill her and who helped Isaac through experiences of appalling violence. It is full of warmth, wit and wise insights about life -especially family life and child-rearing. Isaac Bacirongo grew up as a Pygmy hunter-gatherer in the Congo. However, when his Papa left the forest to find work, Isaac went to missionary school, where he fell in love with scientific reason and rejected his mission teachings. He courted and wed Josephine, a 'town girl', whom his mother hated. Complaining that her new daughter-in-law would not be able to catch crabs or collect firewood, she engaged a witchdoctor in an attempt to kill her. Isaac and Josephine moved to the city, and he became a prosperous businessman. Isaac become a community leader involved in the fight for Pygmy rights, but he was imprisoned for his activism by the brutal regime that controls Eastern Congo. He bribed his way out of jail and fled to Kenya with his wife and 0 children in 2000. There he becomes an interpreter on a corruption investigation into the UNHCR. Granted a humanitarian visa, the family resettled as refugees in Sydney, but life started to unravel under the pressure of domestic violence, his children's assimilation and an Australian workplace that tested Isaac's African values. Although this memoir is Isaac's personal story, unique in its perspective on life as a Pygmy, it is also a universal story about the tragedies and challenges faced by many refugees and migrants, and their indomitable spirit they display in rising above challenges and confronting change to touch and transform the new communities they join.