Spread across a vast area of the central-South of Madagascar, with tentacles into the West and East, is Ibara, home to the large Bara community, a pastoral people who have remained faithful to the ways of their ancestors. Known for their traditional sport of cattle rustling, the prerequisite for entering into manhood, they now fall victim to an unfortunate prejudice, being associated with cattle thieves in the context of the present social and economic problem of armed gangsters and large-scale cattle theft. The Bara has long been a feared and misunderstood race. They are brave and hardworking from an early age, regard virility, and intelligence highly, and are usually of a tall and slender build.
Bara society, previously impermeable to new ideas, is being increasingly forced to consider foreign concepts like schools and alternatives to cattle herding because of insecurity. There is the constant threat of losing their herds to organized theft which in some cases forces them to abandon their villages and find a different way of life.
The cohesiveness of Bara society persists in the face of their differences. They do not all speak the same way. They have varying taboos and customs. There has never been one united Bara kingdom. Despite however being spread over the large area where they are found, they all have a strong common identity of being “Bara”.