Colloquium on Violence

Universite_Omar_Bongo Ebando Ambassade de France au Gabon

The Department of Psychology, Université Omar Bongo and the NGO EBANDO are organizing the Colloquium on Violence in 2024 on Jannuary 16, 17 and 18.

Violence is a character that undermines a number of people. While some people are born gentle, others, on the contrary, seem to be endowed with this reality.

Relationships and interactions between two or more individuals in a family, in a community... reveal the phenomenon of violence. Who is violent and who is not?

Such is the dialectic of violence, whose definition presents a multifaceted meaning.

We believe that violence is the act of harming oneself, others or others, i.e. bending or subjecting them and their whole person to a weight of brutality (physical, verbal, psychological, etc.) that destabilizes them and leads them to suffer or defend themselves from the situation to which they are exposed.

Answering this question brings us back to the innate nature of violence in human beings.

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651) is a good example of this: "Man is a wolf to man".

Men spend a lot of time doing violence to each other. There are many reasons for this;

Freud debated some of the origins of violence, and set out in Totem and Taboo how the quest for power, if only for the possession of women, can be the cause of violence against a third party

What follows, however, is a dramatic picture in which the perpetrators of patricide do themselves harm, if not violence, through guilt, and erect not only a totem pole, but also a taboo.

The violence of this act leads to the law. Psychoanalysis refers to the sadistic and masochistic character to indicate the sick, suffering aspect of the human being who causes harm not only to others, but to himself as well. Far from dwelling on this discourse, we believe that the phenomenon of violence today deserves to be explored in its various contours, in a context where knowledge intersects according to its specificities, but more understood under its methods. The main objective is to understand the practice of violence in society, more specifically in family and non-family life, with a view to providing perspectives aimed at limiting, mitigating or even regulating it in the most appropriate way for each target and perpetrator.

The NGO EBANDO was the winner of the PISCCA Fund (Innovative Projects of Civil Societies and Coalition of Actors) 2022 thanks to its project MIVOVA Y'ATO, a documentary film featuring the testimonies of women "survivors" of sexual abuse and violence. In Gabon, according to the latest national survey on gender-based violence (2005), 90% of women reported having been victims of sexual violence at least once, 83% of economic violence and 54% of physical violence.

Gender-based violence (GBV), sometimes referred to as sexist violence, refers to all harmful acts directed against an individual or group of individuals because of their gender identity. It is rooted in gender inequality, abuse of power and harmful norms. The NGO EBANDO aims to promote traditional Gabonese cultures and social solidarity, working towards cohesion and social inclusion for all. Since its creation (22 years ago), the NGO has collected over a hundred testimonies (rape, molestation, gender-based violence, etc.) from victims of different social backgrounds.

For the most part, these victims find it very difficult to rebuild their lives following these traumatic events, which accentuates the lack of a listening ear and the right to speak out. According to a report by ONUFEMME, 56% say they have not been able to talk to anyone. Alongside the women, the men beaten by their wives suffer from another form of violence, scorn and mockery, despite the fact that they have set themselves up as an association... Children are not left out in the cold either... In working life, relations between employers and employees sometimes leave much to be desired. In the street, stigmatization, stares, jibes, sarcasm... cause so much suffering to victimized individuals.

The list goes on and on. Lately, this phenomenon has been on the increase, despite some measures taken by the government. It has amplified to the point where its consequences are deeply traumatic, and the related suffering affects the silent martyrs physically, physiologically, psychologically, economically... and socially. This silence is difficult to understand, perhaps because of tradition or a society that finds it hard to accept violence as a practice that deviates from existential logic... The most important aspect of this symposium is to focus on the relationship between gender and violence.

So what can we say about the situation? - Is violence to be understood as a necessary evil caused by social silence, contempt, mockery, etc. towards its victims? - What happens to victims of violence? - What are the origins of violence in each individual? - Is violence beneficial for individuals and society? - How can we effectively address the issue of violence? - What means does science recommend for dealing with it? - Can we draw on ancestral practices to find solutions to the phenomenon? - Can religion, for its part, be an excellent mediator in bringing people back to a culture of peace? - Isn't society, through the political power it embodies, one of the main sources of violence?

At the moment, thinking about violence would be more like thinking about public authorities. These are the questions, if not the avenues, that can lead us to the realization of a multi-faceted body of knowledge that can provide solutions/recommendations for the victims and perpetrators of this scourge.

Université Omar Bongo, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines Decanat Département de Psychologie /+24174427746/+24166316263 / ONG EBANDO, Bp.1122/Akanda Tel : +241077781267 / +0024166250917/ (whatsapp or phone)

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The story of TataYo

51 years ago I came for 15 days to visit my mother in Gabon by charter DC6 Gabonair.

And by choice and cheerfulness of heart, I stayed there.

My dear mother Madame Villas is buried there since 2013 as well as our son Noé, loved by all and deceased at 24 years old.

The last time I left there was in the last century and for a month, in 1999, to accompany 2 great traditional artists of the Deep Country, including Yvon Minanga Kassa, in 2 French festivals.

This dear Gabon which saw the birth of our 3 children is a sacred and magical land and its inhabitants are always hospitable and welcoming in all its provinces.

In short, a warm country where I have now spent 2/3 of my life.

My professional life as a truck driver has pushed me since 1976 to meet the local cultures so decried, even demonized by the influential imported religions.

Three major events, some of them mystical and confidential, happened:

A night breakdown in 1976 in a village of the Estuary and the meeting of remarkable people such as Papa André, his brother Evariste and their relatives, which led me to be initiated after 3 years of frequenting this milieu so decried by the gossips... in 1979!

Fundamental initiation which immediately pushed me to found a first "association for the agricultural and cultural promotion of the Gabonese village" in 1980 with the late Daniel Odimbossoukou and late Catherine Oneto.

Then creation of rural cooperatives with the late Jean Robert Rengouwa, a very delicate concept that was hardly born despite the total involvement of the above mentioned.

In 1993 and 1994, the initiations of Katy Euillet, mother of our common children, and myself, in other traditional rites of the Middle Ogoué with Mr. Jean Tsanga who later became Motamba (Root of the Earth), made us discover other cultures all as enriching for our ex-Western spirits, in love with an Africa that is humanly and naturally so rich and so diverse

In 1996, the newly created "Association of Friends of the Circus of Ecuador" allowed 22 Gabonese artists to have a 2-year renewable contract in the biggest circus in the world, in the USA: BARNUM & Ringling Circus.

All this led us after 2 other fundamental and founding events, to create the "EBANDO cultural association (nature + culture = future)" which has not ceased since then to help people in difficulty to reintegrate by the traditional ways of the various know-how of GABON.

This has led us to be the "kingpin" association for the Gabonese part of the String Music Festival which lasted 10 days in 2004 at the French Cultural Center which later became the French Institute.

A great success due in large part to the animator Irène Labeyrie and the conductor Toups Bebey.

This year 2022 sees us become an association presided over by an enterprising woman: Audrey Céline Mengue and we are the carriers and directors of the PISCCA project of a 26' documentary on violence against women (MIVOVA Y'ATO : paroles de femmes) financed in part by the French Embassy in Gabon. 

We are at your disposal for any further information,

Tel : +241 77819555 (whatsapp or phone)

Email :

Thank you.

The executive secretary and co-founder of the Ebando Association:

Hugues Obiang Poitevin aka TataYo