Strides in the rhythm of drum beats …from sunrise to dusk…The Festival of Cultures in Gabon is in full swing.
The 2017 edition was celebrated under the theme ‘Cultural Diversity and National Cohesion’, from 30 June to 2 July in the communes of Libreville, Akanda and Owendo.
After being suspended for many years due to numerous organizational contingencies, the Festival of Cultures is back on the agenda.
“From this festival of cultures, we will be able to make the artist live from his work. The other peculiarity is what it is that this edition marks the start of a momentum that will remake Libreville and Gabon, the socio-cultural and artistic platform that it was ten, fifteen years ago,” said Arcad Isaac, artistic director of the Festival of Cultures of Gabon.
This most popular cultural event in Gabon opened its doors to foreign communities in its new version. Gabon wants to further involve Gabonese, Africans and Europeans for a rich and diversified cultural expression and make Libreville a cultural hub. Special guest of this 13th issue, a delegation of dozens of artists who came straight from Morocco.
Part of the competition, several games including “SONGO”, a traditional game based on mathematical calculations, somewhat strategic.
‘‘It is played on a deck of 14 squares, 7 of which on each side. In each box we put 5 pawns. So, the game consists in making a deployment of pieces, one by one and box by box clockwise and then, on the basis of certain rules one can capture pawns,’‘ Meba Me Fama President of the Gabonese Federation of “SONGO”
Games and contests often accompanied by the melodies of traditional instruments such as the “mvet”, a kind of guitar that tells through its strings: poetry, philosophy and sometimes the scientific knowledge of the world.
Anything that gives people and spectators pleasure.
‘‘I’m really very happy. It’s been a long time since we celebrated the festival of cultures in Gabon. Now that the Ministry of Communication and Culture has taken the initiative to promote the Gabonese culture, I am really happy, I am very pleased. There is the festivity, everyone is there, there is infatuation. We find our traditional dances, our dishes and then I’m really happy,” said Libreville resident Berger Keyi.
The Festival of Culture was launched in 1997 by Father Mba Abessolo, then mayor of Libreville before being instituted as a national celebration by the late Omar Bongo Ondimba.