There is no father who spends more time alone with their children than the average Aka Tribe. Holding the title “best dads in the world” after a recent study, the men from the Aka pygmy tribe, who live in the border forests of Congo Brazzaville and the Central African Republic, dedicate the most time of all the world’s peoples to active fathering.
The lifestyle of the Aka has been shifted from their traditional customs by European colonialism. The slave trade of the 18th century caused the migration of several tribes into Aka lands. These tribes subsequently became affiliated with the Aka. By the end of the 19th century, the Aka was the major elephant hunters providing tusks for the ivory trade. Affiliated tribes acted as middlemen in these transactions.
From 1910 to 1940, the Aka lands were part of French Equatorial Africa, and they forced nearby affiliated tribes into rubber production by the colonialists. These laborers occasionally escaped into forests inhabited by the Aka, increasing the demand for bushmeat. To meet this demand, Aka developed a more efficient method of net hunting to replace traditional spear hunting.
This caused a change in the social structure of the Aka: they saw net hunting as less physically challenging than using spears to kill the game, and so women were encouraged to take part in hunting activities. In the 1930s, the French pressed the Aka to move into roadside villages. However, like the Efé of the Ituri rainforest, most Aka disobeyed and retreated into the jungle, with few joining the new settlements (except for a few villages in Congo-Brazza).
Today, economic pressures have forced the Aka to further deviate from their traditional customs. Many Aka now works in the coffee plantations of neighboring tribes during the dry season instead of hunting as they would have done, and others have found employment in the ivory and lumber trade. A worldwide study by Fathers Direct, a British national information center on fatherhood which included 156 cultures around the world, found that fathering had an inferior status in most countries.
Only 20 percent of the cultures studied promote men’s close relationships with infants, and only 5 percent with young children, the study published in the center’s journal, ‘FatherWorld’ said. In fact, fathers are the ones to comfort babies if they wake at night, and they also wouldn’t mind taking them along when they go drinking palm wine or attend any social activity, Hewlett found.
These men have automatically turned themselves into women. The only difference is that they do not have breasts to breastfeed their children.
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