Equatorial Guinea Episode 1

Lucy Duran heads to Equatorial Guinea in central Africa, with her guide Isabela de Aranzadi, to hear the music of the majority Fang people. She meets Stanislav Bengono Nvo, one of the few remaining players of the mvet, an 8 string harp zither. They head deep into the continental portion of the country to meet local artisan Felipe Osa and possibly for the first time ever record the Abakuya dance tradition, which has its roots in Nigeria, then Cuba and then Equatorial Guinea. In the forest Lucy goes in search of a man called Chacho who performs the Fang funeral tradition of Ndong Mbá, and back on the island of Bioko they hear the many xylophones of the Fang language Catholic mass.

Home to many different ethnic groups, the Fang, Bubi, Ndowe, Bisio, Krio and others, Equatorial Guinea is spread across a mainland portion, squeezed between Gabon and Cameroon, and a series of islands, the largest being Bioko and home to capital Malabo. It first cropped up on European maps when Portuguese explorer Fernando Po passed by the islands in the 15th Century; then, swapped for a bit of Brazil with the Spanish, it began its Spanish speaking history. The British had a go at moving their anti-slavery operations from nearby Sierra Leone to Malabo in the early 19th Century but the Spanish weren't giving up, and returned in 1843 to claim back Spanish Guinea, bringing Catholicism too. Independence came in 1968, followed by the 11-year reign of terror of first president Francisco Macias Nguema. He was overthrown by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who at 34 years in the job is now Africa's longest serving leader. Since the discovery of oil in the mid-1990s Equatorial Guinea has become an extremely wealthy nation, and is undergoing extensive infrastructural change.

Release date:

Available now

1 hour

Last on

Sun 19 May 2013 22:00

Related topics

Featured in...