Photographer's Note

A great annual festival took place in Douala this week-end. It is called the Ngondo festival and it gathers all the Sawa people (people from the coast).

Many events have been surrounding this animist celebration dedicated to the "Jengu" or "Ondine", the gods from the Wouri river : dances from each tribes of the City, traditional fighting, a traditional Miss election, etc...

The climax of the celebration occured this morning when hundreds of thousand people are gathering to the river banks to watch the elected diver disappear under the water for 5 to 10 minutes (don't ask me how...) to collect the message from the ancestors in a large basket and bring it to the traditional chieves of Douala who will translate it to normal Human Being.

According to the message, we'll know quite soon if 2008 will be a wealthy year or not...

This man was one of the traditionnal chieves of the Ceremony. Behind him, you may see the strong men waiting for the traditionnal race on the Wouri river.

This year, I experienced the festival differently from last year. Instead of running back and forth to take as many pictures as I could, I spent a long time sitting on the shore among several old people listening silently at them, trying to be part of their group. For once, I could get more smiles than begging request from people around me. It made my day.

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Additional Photos by Steven Le Vourc'h (Curioso) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 551 W: 273 N: 1552] (9271)
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