IndexAfricaGabon → Fang



The Fang are sometimes married before birth. Complete sexual licence exists before and after betrothal (Balandier, 1955 [1970:p123])[1]. Trézenem (1936)[2] on the Fan (Gabon) speaks of coitus from the age of capacity. “Before marriage a girl can do nearly as she pleases. It is absolutely safe to state that it would be almost impossible to find a maiden in a Fang village over sixteen years of age”, according to Bennett[3].



Bwiti (religious movement among the Fang of Gabon


Fernandez (1982:p145-6)[4] noted coital doll play (bidzang) in the Bwiti. Another game called shale (p628n8) works as follows: “[The] children sit around spread-legged. A bystander- usually a man- then comes forward with a piece of wood or a stone in his fist. He thrusts his fist up between the legs of each in turn, leaving it under one. There is much giggling. He sings: “Trapdoor spider, trapdoor spider”, [salé] you are very foolish! Hide this for me”. Now another player comes out from a hut and attempts to guess where the object is hidden. As he reaches up between the legs, the seated player attempts to grab him”.








Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Balandier, G. (1955 [1970]) The Sociology of Black Africa. London: Deutsch

[2] Trézenem, E. (1936) Notes ethnographiques sur les tribus Fan du Moyen-Ogooué, J Soc Afric 6, as cited by Pedrals (1950:p17), op.cit.

[3] Bennett, A. L. (1899) Ethnographical Notes on the Fang, J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 29,1/2:66-98

[4] Fernandez, J. W. (1982) Bwiti, An Ethnography of the Religious Imagination in Africa. Princeton: Princeton University Press