The Sorosoro crew has gathered several narratives along their filming sessions. Tales, myths, and epics are strong vectors for the transmission of languages and cultures. Either from Gabon, Guatemala or elsewhere, either in Akele, Punu or Kaqchikel, Sorosoro is happy to introduce them, here.
The Mumbwanga: an epic of the Punu in Gabon
Punu is the language of the Bapunu, second largest ethnic group in Gabon in terms of population. It’s a Bantu language, spoken in the Tchibanga area. The increasingly important movement of Bapunu people towards larger urban areas is causing a gradual loss of their language and cultural knowledge.
Sorosoro was granted the rare opportunity to film this one of the main founding narratives of the Punu ethnic group. Nowadays very few storytellers are able to produce the Mumbwanga epic in its full version.
The Tale of the Upstream God and the Downstream God in Akele (Gabon)
Akele is the language of the Akele people from Gabon. It’s a Bantu language, whose speakers are scattered around various parts the country. The Akele are fishermen and farmers living along the Ogooué and Ngounie rivers, and in the lake region around Lambaréné.
A tale (Apiret, in Akele) is an oral genre used as an educational tool. The Tale of the Upstream God and the Downstream God raises God as the source of knowledge and wisdom.
Linguist: Jean-Marie Hombert Camera and sound: Luc-Henri Fage Translation: Hugues Awanhet Editing : Caroline Laurent
The marriage of Ogoula & Ilombè, in Mpongwe (Gabon)
This following video is the first part of aMpongwe tale we recorded in 2009 in the outskirts of Libreville: the story of Ogoula and Ilombè, told by Jean Félix Ayenouet, one of the last great storytellers of the area.
Let’s take off on a journey through the land of animals, in Senegal, in the company of storyteller Issouf Coly.
We are close to Ziguinchor, Casamance ; and with everyone around a bonfire Issouf begins tales that may remind some of the La Fontaine Fables. Though here, not a single reference to foxes or frogs: these are the forests of Africa, and the characters brought into the stories are the hyena, hare, monitor lizard, Billy goat and lion…
We’re unfortunately unable to provide context to this story, told by Sékou Djikabo Coly and devoted to quite a disreputable character, Moussa, nicknamed « the little cat ». This is Casamance, on Baynunk territory, near Niamone. Moussa is a Jola, raised by the Muslim Mandinka people, who returns to loot the Baynunk and kidnap for ransom… something of a genuine highwayman.
But Moussa The Little Cat will not have the last word. The Baynunk are wise and clever, and they’ll end up getting rid of the crook…
Sorosoro is a program carried by the WOLACO Association (World Languages Conservancy) and supported by the Laboratory of Excellence ASLAN (Advanced Studies on language complexity) from the University of Lyon.