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Channel 4 enters jungles of Congo in Extreme Tribe: The Last Pygmies

Staff Reporter

Reading time: 1 mins

Channel 4 and Renegade Pictures will reveal the lives of one of the most extraordinary societies on Earth in a new three-part series.

Extreme Tribe: The Last Pygmies follows first-time presenter Livia Simoka – a former anthropological film-maker – as she spends five months living with a Pygmy community living deep in the jungle in the Republic of the Congo.

The Pygmy tribe, called the Mbendjele, is almost entirely cut off from the outside world. Most of them lead their entire lives in the forest, born amongst the trees without access to hospitals, schools or any basic amenities, and finding the food they need from the plants and animals around them. After an extreme journey by plane, boat and finally a long trek through the rainforest, Livia arrives in a small clearing which is home to a village called Bonguinda, with around 250 Pygmy inhabitants.

She is welcomed by a large, boisterous and friendly family, who treat her as an adopted daughter during her stay, and put her up on the floor of their mudhut. Over the months, they share their personal family dramas, show Livia their tribal traditions like female tooth sharpening, and teach her their unique ways of surviving in such a harsh environment. Livia also discovers threats to their village – both from hostile neighbours, and a planned new road right through it.

Simoka says: “It was a life-changing experience to be welcomed into the Mbendjele’s tight-knit community, and I’m very honoured to be able to share their stories and dramas.”

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