Ebando is a NGO located in Libreville which helps to give broader access to the cultural heritage found in Gabon. Operating for 40 years, the organization helps fight against poverty and prejudice by promoting traditional activities through a socio-cultural approach. We seek to transmit the traditional knowledge and practices including philosophy, art and crafts, and the healing skills of the Bantu and Pygmy peoples from the Ogooué basin region. EBANDO provides a meeting point for people with a passion for African and universal culture and offers initiation into Bwiti as well as rites including usage of sacred wood Iboga and ancient practices-including knowledge of plants, rituals and healing.

Ebando means Genesis or beginning.

Roots, Masks and Visions

‘L’ANCE’ (Asso. for Nature/Culture Ebando) is a Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to give broader access to the fundamental tangible and intangible cultural heritage found in various regions of Central Africa (including forest habitats, savannas, rivers, lakes and lagoons).

Based in Gabon the organisation seeks to encourage the transmission of traditional Knowledge and practices including philosophy and oral traditions, art and crafts; and the healing skills of the Bantu and Pygmy peoples from the Ogooué basin region of Gabon.

Gabon’s rich artistic heritage has provided a major influence for famous modern artists such as Braque, Derain, Picasso, Brancusi and Giacometti.

The organization is innovative through its socio-cultural approach. All training and practices are monitored by indigenous skilled specialists. A wide variety of initiation and training is available.

Daily Activities

  • Initiation into Bwiti (Missoko Gondé Dipuma) or Rites including the usage of Sacred Wood IBOGA(Disumba).

  • ECOTOURISM – Guided forest walks – Discover the marvels of this profound country through specialist walks for tourists. Themes include Ethno botany, Insects, Healing, Ecology and Mysticism.

  • ON Going to meet the different PYGMEES PEOPLES (BAKA. BaBONGO. BaKOYA). (see recommendations letters on the ecoguides & ecotourism chapter !)

  • Ancient practices-including knowledge of plants, rituals and healing.

  • Gatherings of people involved in the following traditional rites: ‘Bwiti’ Dissumba, Bwiti Missoko Gondé, Ombwiri, Mboumbi et Mboumba Yanou (4 rites which include the use of indigenous holy plants); and Mvett (Fang-recounting of epics and sagas).

  • Séances to Conjure up genies and recount tales; and performances by traditional dance troops such as MAMISOBA and guests ( e.g. Moukouya)

  • Meetings and exchanges with traditional healers and craftsmen, artists, in their natural milieu (Villages and the forest).

  • Programmes to meet local people and reknowned specialists.

  • Ecological Assistance to NGOs working in the environmental sector. Educational visits and workshops with traditional instruments in local primary schools.

  • Ongoing census of craftsmen and traditional healers in the country.

Objectives

Association Nature Culture Ebando (ANCE) aims to expand the knowledge of the natural and life-saving cultural resources of indigenous peoples from Central Africa Rainforests.
ANCE has at its roots the desire to help fight against poverty and prejudice, through promoting traditional activities and inter-cultural communication.

It is an NGO for all researchers and visitors to the Republic of Gabon.

ANCE aims to provide a link and a meeting point for people with a passion for African and universal culture.

We would like to initiate cultural exchanges throughout the world, starting initially with Central Africa; and then further field in order to represent and spread the message from the forest and its inhabitants.

ANCE seeks to establish a network of artists, craftsmen, traditional healers, scientists, fieldworkers and highly skilled trainers with a passion for their African traditional way of life, and the well-being of humanity.

Thanks to their traditional milieu and diverse cultural backgrounds, the active members of l’ANCE seek to discover and teach the cultural practices and art forms of traditional forest inhabitants.

Vision and Mission

Ebando is dedicated to improving the lives of Gabonese citizens as well many people all over the world. We make this possible by offering an easy access to come to Gabon for initiations and for Eco-toursim.

About Us

Hugues Obiang Poitevin, also known by his Bwiti name, Tatayo, arrived in Gabon in 1971 and discovered the indigenous religion of Bwiti in 1976. In 1979, he was initiated into Fang Bwiti Dissumba. Then, in 1980, he co-founded the Association for the Promotion of Cultural Village Gabon. In 1994, after guiding nearly 70 Westerners to Gabonese villages for Bwiti initiation, Tatayo was initiated into Bwiti Missoko Ngonde na Dipouma and built his own Bwiti temple.

In 1999, following an intense Bwiti ceremony, Tatayo discovered ” Ngenza-The Spirit of the Sea,” a sacred mask that appeared between his feet in the ocean. He took this an omen and created the NGO EBANDO, and later the school of Bwiti Mboma na Ditsuala, using the most powerful and loving traditions from a variety of Bwiti ways.

In August 2005, when Tatayo was granted the right to initiate according to Fang Dissumba Bwiti, until the end of 2011, NGO EBANDO initiated 105 foreigners, as well as 30 Gabonese youth who were taken from the street to be put back in touch with their Bwiti roots, free of charge. These initiations earned the NGO about 110,000 euros, just over 1,000 euros per person on average for a three-week minimum stay. Those of you who have stayed with us know that this is not sustainable. So, how has EBANDO managed to pay the bills all these years?

Call from the forest

Clearly, a sustainable business model would have ensured that the income generated by the activities of our NGO was equal to or more than our expenses. Instead, EBANDO, shared what it had with everyone who knocked on the door, as it is in any traditional African village, worthy of respect. But in doing this, we have neglected the care of our elder.

We have made big changes at EBANDO. With the help of family who have both the expertise, and the love for Bwiti, we have redefined our priorities, projects, and business model. Further, we restructured our organization, eliminated the “unproductive burdens,” and recalculated our rates for our services. We are proud of these changes and believe you will be as well.

Your support in the past has established EBANDO the leading liaison between Bwiti and Western culture. To continue that tradition, and to attain our goals, we need your support now more than ever. We need to invest in new land, far from Libreville, reserved for your reception and plantations.

You can contribute in several ways:

  • Introducing us to paying clients wishing to explore the nature and cultures of Gabon.
  • Making a monetary donation that may possibly be tax-deductible.
  • Investing in our infrastructure, under your repayment terms, and return on investment.
  • Offering your advice, expertise and experience.

Thank you most sincerely for your attention and your best intentions.

“Mamisoba la véritable says: “I washed my dog and I met my God!”