26.05.2016 - Africa Department

Dedication ceremony for the novel “La Pygmédie” by the late Bernard Zoniaba

On the occasion of Africa Week, His Excellency Mr. Jacques Kabale, President of the African Group and Permanent Delegate of Rwanda to UNESCO, and Mr. Edouard Firmin Matoko, Assistant Director General for Africa, assisted with the dedication ceremony for the book written by the late Bernard Zoniaba, La Pygmédie, Wednesday 25 May.

This event, sponsored by His Excellency Mr. Jean-Mari Adoua, Permanent Delegate of Congo to UNESCO, also welcomed the Ambassadors of Côte d’Ivoire and Yemen. Ms. Motse Akanati, Director of Editions Métsio, expressed her gratitude to the distinguished guests and audience who were present for the promotion of the book. She then introduced Bernard Zonabia, who was born in 1929 in Saounke (Congo-Brazzaville) and died in 2001. He served as Minister and Permanent Delegate of Congo to UNESCO and turned to writing towards the end of his life. A reading of certain key passages from the novel followed.

The chosen extracts, illustrating such problems as Congolese deforestations, remind us of the issues linked to the environment, one of the central themes behind this Week.

The emblematic passage of the work is the following: “Now that they [the Bantus] were renouncing their policy of making things worse for the Pygmies, it was appropriate that the Pygmies return the favour, that’s to say, they go back to having better sentiments towards them, even if simply for the future, given that so many risks still existed for things to go bad.”

And thus, Zoniaba’s novel and this session allowed for a message to be transmitted about the difficulties met by the Pygmies concerning their integration into an urban area and their relationship with the Bantus and that, although there were positive changes in this circumstance, it is important not to forget those confronted with this very situation.

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