Bwiti Missoko-gonde Initiation

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In the heart of the Gabonese Equatorial forest there exists an ancient rite, possibly inherited from the pygmies as far back as the palaeolithic Age, called Bwiti. This rite of initiation is a way for youngsters to become adults. During the initiation, novices ingest the iboga plant which gives visions allowing them to « travel to the land of the Ancestors ». It is a death and rebirth experience where the initiate experiences a symbolic and rebirth during a ceremony that lasts for three days.

The plantain banana full of holy-wood (Tabernanthe iboga), eaten during initiation.

© Laurent Sazy Mandilou / Fougamou Province February 2002