Gabon — History and Culture
Main · Videos; Gabon dating and marriage customs. We're flirted to aggravate this gap rectified for the best-known potion nor potion ex his era, ex such graham . Gabonese PRONUNICATION: gab-uh-NEEZ LOCATION: Gabon  (western Thus, children were taught and traditions were handed down through storytelling. Young couples in the city date like couples in the West, enjoying movies. Approximately the size of Colorado, Gabon has a population of just over 1 million Thus, children were taught and traditions were handed down through storytelling. Young couples in the city date like couples in the West, enjoying movies.
Major export items include manganese, forest products, and oil. Overall, France receives more than one-third of Gabon's exports and contributes half of its imports. Gabon also trades with other European nations, the United States, and Japan. In60 percent of workers were employed in the industrial sector, 30 percent in services, and 10 percent in agricultural. Children born within marriage belong to their fathers; women are expected to have children before marrying so they will still have something should the couple separate.
Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Though the per capita income is four times that of other sub-Saharan African nations, the majority of this wealth is in the hands of a few. The cities are filled with poverty, which is less noticeable in the villages.
The villagers provide for themselves and have less of a need for money. Village families assess relative affluence by how many chickens and goats they have, how many pots are in the kitchen, and how many changes of clothes each person has. Official caste systems are not present. Symbols of Social Stratification.
The more affluent in society wear freshly starched clothes, in both Western and African styles. The Gabonese are accustomed to being shunned and condescended to by government officials, postal workers, and other important figures; once one has reached a higher level oneself, the temptation to respond in kind is enticing.
The educated Gabonese speak Parisian French, while the rest of the country speaks a French that has absorbed the rhythm and accent of their local language.
Gabon has three branches of government. The executive branch includes the president, his prime minister, and his Council of Ministers, all appointed by him.
The legislative branch is made up of the seat National Assembly and the seat Senate, both of which are elected every five years. The judicial branch includes the Supreme Court, the High Court of Justice, an appellate court, and a state security court. Leadership and Political Officials. When Gabon gained its independence inLeon M'ba, the former governor to Gabon, slid into the presidency. He survived a coup and remained in power until his death in Vice President Albert Bernard Bongo took his place.
Bongo, who later took the Islamic name El Hadj Omar Bongo, was reelected in and has been the president ever since. Elections are held every seven years, and Bongo has continued to win by a slender margin. Bongo's party, the Gabon Democratic Party or PDG has had competition since other parties were legalized inbut the other two main parties, the Gabonese People's Union and the National Rally of Woodcutters, have been unable to gain control.
Before each election, Bongo travels the country giving speeches and handing out money and clothing. He uses the budget to do this, and there is a debate over whether or not the elections are handled fairly. Social Problems and Control. The formality of crime response is debatable. It hinges on who is victimized as much as who is in charge.
Little is done to protect African immigrants, but if a European is hurt the police will try harder. There is a lot of corruption, however, and if money changes hands the criminal could be released and no record kept. For this reason, the law is often more informal. A town will ostracize someone for having stolen something, but no formal charge will be taken.
Things will be passed by word of mouth, and the criminal will be cast out. In extreme cases, a village might seek an nganga, or medicine man, to cast a spell on the person. Gabon's troops stay within its borders. Out of the nation's overall budget, 1. The military employspeople, with concentrations in the cities and along Gabon's southern and eastern borders to repel Congolese immigrants and refugees. There is also a large presence of the French military. It sells condoms and educates women on family planning and pregnancy.
There is also a Forests and Waters office in every city, working to protect the environment and wildlife from exploitation, though its effectiveness is questioned. Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations The World Wildlife Fund has ecological and sociological research and wildlife preservation projects in the north and on the coast, and the United Nations supports agricultural advancements in the north by sponsoring extensionists and providing training and mopeds.
The Peace Corps is active in Gabon as well, with programs in construction, health, agriculture, fisheries, women in development, and environmental education. The expectations of labor are different for women and men. Women raise their many children, farm, prepare food, and do the household chores. In the villages, the men build a house for the family as well as a cuisine for each wife taken. The men handle cash crops if there are any, and may have jobs fishing or building, or in offices in the cities.
The women also work in the cities as secretaries—there are exceptional women who have risen to positions of power in spite of the underlying male dominance in the workplace.
The children help with the chores, do laundry and dishes, run errands, and clean house. The Relative Status of Women and Men. Though debatable, men seem to have higher status than women. They make the financial decisions and control the family, though the women add input and are often outspoken. The men dominate the government, the military, and the schools, while the women do the majority of the manual labor for the family.
Gabon women have traditionally assumed a house-bound role. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Virtually everyone is married, but few of these marriages are legal. To legalize a marriage it must be done at the mayor's office in a city, and this is rare. Women choose men who will be able to provide for them, while men choose women who will bear children and keep their home. Polygyny is practiced in Gabon, but having more than one woman becomes expensive and has become a sign of wealth as much as it is an indulgence.
Divorce is uncommon but not unheard of. Marriages can be business arrangements, at times, though some couples marry for love. It is expected for women to have several children before wedlock. These children will then belong to the mother. In a marriage, however, the children are the father's. If the couple splits up, the husband takes the children.
Without premarital offspring, the wife would have nothing. When a couple is wed, they traditionally move to the husband's village. That village will hold his family, including brothers and their families, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, and nieces and nephews. It is not uncommon for families to share a home with their parents and extended relatives.
Everyone is welcome and there is always room for one more.
Within each ethnic group are tribes. Each tribe lives in the same area and comes from a common ancestor. For this reason, people cannot marry members of their tribe. Babies stay with their mothers. There are no cribs or playpens, and the infants are tied to their mothers' backs with a sheet of cloth when the mothers are busy, and sleep next to the mother on the same bed.
Perhaps because they are so physically close all the time, the babies are remarkably calm and quiet. Child Rearing and Education. Children are raised communally. Mothers care for their children and any neighboring children who may be present. In addition, older siblings take care of the younger ones. The children sleep in the cuisine kitchen hut with their mother, but are relatively free within the village during the day. They begin school at age five or six.
When there is not money for books and supplies, the children will not go to school until there is.
Culture of Gabon - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family
Sometimes a wealthy relative will be called upon to provide these things. Both boys and girls attend school until they are sixteen by law, though this may not always occur for the above reason. The girls may begin to have children at this point, and the boys continue school or begin to work.
Approximately 60 percent of Gabonese are literate. The Omar Bongo University in Libreville offers two to three year programs in many subjects, as well as advanced studies in select fields. The University of Science and Technology in the south is relatively new, and diversifies the options. These schools are dominated by upper-class men. Women have a difficult time excelling in academics, as the subjects and standards are structured for men. Some Gabonese study abroad in other African countries or in France, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Etiquette Gabonese are very communal. Personal space is neither needed nor respected. When people are interested in something, they stare at it. It is not rude to call something what it is, to identify someone by his or her race, or to ask someone for something that is wanted. Foreigners are often offended by this.
They may feel personally invaded by having someone stand in their space, insulted at being called white, and put off by people who ask them for their watch and shoes.
None of these things are meant in a negative way, however, as they simply reflect the up-front nature of the Gabonese. Conversely, celebrity figures are treated with incredible respect. They are the first to sit, and the first to be fed, and are catered to with detail, regardless of their moral standing in society. There are several different belief systems in Gabon. The majority of the Gabonese are Christian.
There are three times as many Roman Catholics as Protestants. There are many foreign clergy, though the Protestants have Gabonese pastors in the north. These beliefs are simultaneously held with Bwiti, an ancestral worship. There are also several thousand Muslims, most of whom have immigrated from other African countries.
Rituals and Holy Places. The Bwiti ceremonies, performed to worship the ancestors, are led by ngangas medicine men. There are special wooden temples for these ceremonies, and participants dress in bright costumes, paint their faces white, remove their shoes, and cover their heads. Death and the Afterlife.
After death, bodies are rubbed and anointed to remove rigor mortis. Because of the tropical climate, the bodies are interred within two days.Top 5 African Wedding Traditions You Can Incorporate In Your Wedding
They are buried in a wooden coffin. The deceased then joins the ancestors who are to be worshiped with the Bwiti ceremonies. They can be asked for advice, and for remedies for disease. There is a retraite de deuil ceremony one year after death to end the mourning period. Medicine and Health Care Health facilities are inadequate. Hospitals are ill-equipped, and patients buy their own medications from pharmacies before treatment can begin. Malaria, tuberculosis, syphilis, AIDS, and other infectious diseases are widespread and virtually untreated.
Many villagers also turn to the ngangas for remedies, as modern health care is expensive and distant. New Year's Day is also celebrated throughout the country.
Gabon children enjoy relative freedom in their villages and start school at the age of five or six. All of the government buildings are constructed in cement.
In the capital, it is easy to differentiate between buildings that were styled by Gabonese and those done by outside architects. In the villages, the architecture is different. The structures are impermanent. The most economical houses are made from mud and covered in palm fronds.
There are houses built from wood, bark, and brick. The brick houses are often plastered with a thin layer of cement with roofs made from corrugated tin. A wealthy family might build with cinder blocks. In addition to the houses, both men and women have distinctive gathering places. The women each have a cuisine, a kitchen hut filled with pots and pans, wood for fire, and bamboo beds set against the walls for sitting and resting.
The men have open structures called corps de guards, or gatherings of men. The walls are waist high and open to the roof. They are lined in benches with a central fire. Some ethnic groups are matrilineal; immediate family includes not only parents and siblings, but also the mother's parents and siblings.
The government is actively encouraging births due to a belief that the population is simply too small. As a result of this policy, as well as a generally lax cultural attitude toward sex, many young Gabonese women become pregnant with no husband. When a couple is wed, they move to the husband's village which holds his extended family including brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, nieces, and nephews. It is common for families to share a home with their parents and extended relatives.
Everyone is welcome and there is always room for one more. This may or may not imply legal marriage, but her betrothal to a man is understood—she will often already have his children and will consider his family her in-laws.
Men wear suits and ties to the office, and blue jeans and T-shirts during the weekend. Women wear dresses and skirts of a Western cut, with material of a colorful African print and the detailed embroidery work done by tailors all over West and Central Africa. A more traditional item is the boubou, a flowing top that varies in length from knee to floor. Ceremonial occasions call for elaborate boubous with loose-fitting matching pants underneath for men and double-wrapped pagnes for women.
A pagne is a colorful strip of African cloth used for everything from casual wraparounds to slings for tying a baby to its mother's back. Earlier, raffia was the most commonly used cloth. It is made out of a kind of grass, woven tightly to form a stiff but malleable material. It is traditionally eaten by men and is reputed to bestow longevity, as the cat is notoriously hard to kill. The staple of most Gabonese, however, is manioc root. It is ground, soaked, and fermented in a labor-intensive process that can take weeks and appears in the markets resembling a block of cheese wrapped in a banana leaf.
Manioc leaves are also eaten and look like spinach when cooked. Another common source of carbohydrates is the banana. These are not small, sweet bananas, which also exist, but larger, harder bananas known in the Americas as plantains. The staples vary little among the groups in Gabon. The groups share a landscape and climate and thus are able to produce the same kinds of things.
Bananas, papayas, pineapples, guavas, mangoes, bushbutter, avocado, and coconuts are the fruits. Eggplants, bitter eggplants, feed corn, sugarcane, peanuts, plantains, and tomatoes are also found. Cassava is the main starch. It is a tuber with little nutritional value, but fills the stomach. Its young leaves are picked and used as a vegetable. Protein comes from the sea and rivers, as well as from bush meat hunted by the men. Favorite meats include wild monkey, bushpig, pangolin a small armored mammal resembling an armadilloand gazelle.
Shrimp, crab, and a variety of fish are harvested from the ocean, carp from the Ogouee River, and tilapia from rural fish farms. Most rural households keep chickens, and while there are a few pig and cattle enterprises in Gabon, most domesticated meat is imported from countries with less humid environments more conducive to stockraising.
With a year-round growing seasontrees produce a vast array of fruit and nuts. The palm nut is used to make palm oila necessity in every kitchen. Coconuts, pineapples, mangos, and lemons are sold on practically every street corner.
The Gabonese habit is to eat the largest meal in the middle of the day. Schools, offices, and businesses shut down between noon and 3: Leftovers are usually served in the evening, unless there is a special occasion, when the main meal is eaten later, accompanied by lots of beer, palm wine, and Coca-Cola.
In reality, many villages don't have schools, and some children have to travel long distances or relocate to attend. Schools use the French system, which allows for 13 years of formal education, and a final state exam called the Baccalaureate. Public schools tend to be crowded, with 30— students to a classroom. In rural areas, schools often lack essential materials like books and chalkboards. The children begin school at age five or six. When there is no money for books and supplies the children will not attend school.
Sometimes a wealthy relative will be called upon to provide these essentials. Both boys and girls attend school until they are 16 by law. Girls may drop out of school due to pregnancy and the boys continue with school or begin to work. The Omar Bongo University in Libreville offers two to three year programs in many subjects, as well as advanced studies in select fields.
The University of Science and Technology in the south is relatively new and diversifies the options. These schools are dominated by upper-class men. Women have a difficult time excelling in academics, as the subjects and standards are structured for men.
Some Gabonese study abroad in other African countries or in France, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Gabon — History and Culture
The first stanza from the Gabonese national anthem is suggestive: United in concord and brotherhood Wake up, Gabon, dawn is upon us.
Stir up the spirit that thrills and inspires us! At last we rise up to attain happiness. The International Center for Bantu Civilizations was created in Libreville inand there is a Gabonese Museum featuring Gabon's history and artistic relics. There is also a French Cultural Center in the capital that displays artistic creations and features dance groups and chorales. There is an annual cultural celebration as well, with performances by musicians and dancers from many different groups in celebration of Gabon's diversity.
Much of Gabon's literature is strongly influenced by France, as many authors received their schooling there. Writers use French, newspapers are in French, and television is broadcast in French. Radio programs use both French and local languages, however, and there is mounting interest in the history of Gabon's peoples. The Fang make masks, baskets, carvings, and sculptures.
Organized clarity and distinct lines and shapes characterize Fang art. Bieri, boxes to hold the remains of ancestors, are carved with protective figures. Masks are worn in ceremonies and during hunting sessions. The faces are painted with white and black features. Myene art centers around Myene rituals for death. The female ancestors are represented by white painted masks, which are worn by their male relatives.
The Bexota on the other hand use brass and copper to cover their carvings. They use baskets to hold ancestral remains. WORK A relatively large percentage of the Gabonese population works directly for the state, living in a provincial capital or a large town.
One salaried worker will support several to dozens of other people on his or her salary. Many more work in the informal sector selling produce, driving unregistered taxis, or tailoring. Income is supplemented by family plantations, often kept by members living in rural areas, but also kept in small plots around the cities. Work in Gabon stops between the hours of noon and 3: Most buildings outside of downtown Libreville are not air conditioned.
Basketball, for both men and women, and martial arts are very popular. Traditional pastimes fight an uphill battle with American and French television, music, and the antics of sports heroes.
Gabonese | uzveli.info
Central African music is also very popular. The most common form of entertainment, for old and young alike, is visiting. Neighbors, friends, and relatives from the same village stroll in the evening, make unannounced social calls, and gossip. While television and radio have made inroads into even the most remote villages, oral culture and face-to-face interaction is an integral part of Gabonese life to a much greater extent than in the West. Particular to southern Gabon are soapstone carvings of female heads called Pierre de M'bigou.
These heads are now considered somewhat of a national symbol and can be seen on stamps and business logos. However, with the drastic changes brought by modernity, most of Gabon's craft traditions have been lost. People on the street, in bars, and in the classroom feel freer now to criticize their government and the president. Gabonese like politics, and spirited debates often ensue.
Labor, student, and women's groups request permits to hold rallies and protest marches, and usually receive them. Women's rights are of particular interest in Africa, where traditional gender roles are quite strong. In Gabon women can own property, sue for divorce, and hold public office, but family law recognizes only female—not male—infidelity as grounds for divorce. Domestic violence and absentee father-hood is prevalent, and, as in America, they are problems that often remain behind closed doors.
A problem that doesn't remain behind closed doors is alcoholism. With a bar on nearly every corner, no regulation of consumption, and a traditional taste for homemade beer and wine, Gabonese are copious drinkers. While many Gabonese believe that drugs are a serious problem in their country, it is nothing compared to the alcoholism. Despite these problems most Gabonese are proud of their country, with its abundant natural resources, relative wealth, and incredible natural beauty.
It sells condoms and educates women on family planning and pregnancy. There is also a Forests and Waters office in every city, working to protect the environment and wildlife from exploitation, though its effectiveness is questioned. The World Wild-life Fund has ecological and sociological research and wildlife preservation projects in the north and on the coast, and the United Nations supports agricultural advancements in the north by sponsoring extensionists and providing training and mopeds.
The Peace Corps is active in Gabon as well, with programs in construction, health, agriculture, fisheries, women in development, and environmental education. Men make the financial decisions and control the activities of the family; however, Gabonese women are known to be outspoken and frequently influence family decisions.
In the government, the military, and the schools, men hold the vast majority of positions of responsibility and power. Alternatively, women do the majority of the manual labor for the family. Gabonese women typically assume a role of homemaker; few work or engage in activities outside the home.
Gabonese families are generally large. Women are responsible for raising their many children, farming, preparing food, and carrying out various household chores. Men assume responsibility for housing.