THE BWITI STORY
The name Bwiti represents a kaleidoscope of traditions that are mainly existing in Gabon. The majority of the Bwiti peoples are Bantous (Akele, Apindji, Tsoghos, Puvi, Punu, Vili, and Fang) but those traditions originate from the pygmies, who gave it to Bantous some 500 years ago. The common theme of these traditions are initiations with the sacred iboga wood and the many symbolic similarities in rituals.
Archeological evidence tells us that the root bark found around traditional fire camps in Gabon after being carbon dated is over 10, 000 years old. It is also theorized that the pygmy tradition greatly interested the pharaohs and influenced Egyptian tradition during its inception. Thus Bwiti can be seen as a very ancient tradition whose roots have a direct connection to modern-day Christian tradition. In modern-day Gabon, there are three dominant Bwiti practices found in the temple. They are made up of the Ngonde, Mioba, and Mimbiri traditions.
Politics of Iboga in Gabon
The claim of iboga disappearing from Gabon was made by a report on iboga sold to the Gabonese state around 2012. The report was sourced from a collection of claims made on the web. It is true that in some places where the Iboga is easily reached there has been a dramatic increase in unsustainable harvesting, like near villages and in some accessible bush parts.
What also is true, is that in National Parks and areas in more remote areas of Gabon, there can be found an abundance of wild and mature Iboga plants growing and thriving in their natural environment. Gabon is a very resource-rich country but is still very undeveloped. In recent years there has been an ongoing exodus of people leaving their villages and communities for Libreville, due to the current economic situation.
Disconnect from Tradition
A plant that is useful to humans never disappears say botanists and many villages have their plantations for traditional use. The disconnection from tradition is the real threat to Iboga’s future because of the Bwiti traditions and their belief that the plant is sacred. This is what keeps the Iboga protected from any possible extinction.
The lack of consideration for tradition, arbitrary laws, and restrictions could end up hurting and not helping the conservation of this sacred plant. Many villages have around their properties considerable natural stocks of Iboga. There is enough stock of Iboga to set up fair trade practices with the villages and help to provide the necessary resources required to keep these traditions alive along with the village life itself.
Our Objective in Gabon
1. Work with our contacts in Cameroon and Gabon to obtain the oldest and highest quality Iboga Root in the world through a sustainable and fair trade model. So that you can receive the best medicine while also helping to keep the Bwiti practices alive for future generations.
2. Provide support to Gabonese villages in practicing traditional healing, through light infrastructure improvements, alternative natural constructions, production of crafts, and natural forest products including Iboga Root.
3. Through our partners create a fair trade market for Iboga Root that will benefit both the villages and the sustainable harvest and trade of Iboga root for future generations. Also, educate villagers about the dangers of overexploitation and incite villagers to start their plantations
4. Develop some considerable plantations to face a possible explosion of Iboga root bark demand. This project is already in progress on an ancient site of forest exploitation, close to a natural site of the plant.
5. Go on the administrative work started several years ago with Gabonese authorities to set up a legal framework for this fair trade, following Nagoya protocol, signed up by Gabon.