People in Gabon
Two million people live in Gabon. That corresponds to
the population of Hamburg. Thus Gabon is a very sparsely
populated country. In addition, half of the population
lives in the three cities of Libreville, Port-Gentil and
Franceville. Overall, 89 percent of Gabonese live in
cities and, accordingly, only 11 percent in rural areas.
Which ethnic groups live in Gabon?
The inhabitants of Gabon belong to around 40 ethnic
groups. Most of these are Bantu peoples, that is, they
speak Bantu languages. The largest group are the catch
with around 38 percent of the population. Nzebi, Mbete,
Bapunu and Obamba are other larger ethnic groups. Four
percent are Batéké. Only 1.5 percent belong to a pygmy
people, the indigenous people of Gabon. Babongo in the
south and Baka in the northeast are among them. The Baka
are the only ones who do not speak a Bantu language in
Languages in Gabon
The official language in Gabon is French. Gabon was a
French colony for many years. So it has remained the
language of administration, education and the media. 80
percent of the population can speak French.
The different peoples who live in Gabon also speak
their own languages. Except for the language of the Baka,
these are all Bantu languages. So they belong to a
language family. Because Fang are the largest ethnic
group, their language is also the most widely spoken. In
the north of Gabon it is an important lingua franca and
is therefore also spoken by other ethnic groups. Mbere,
Punu (language of the Bapunu), Teke and Njebi also have
a larger number of speakers.
Religions in Gabon
88 percent of Gabonese are Christians. Catholics form
the majority among them. Muslims are a minority in the
country at six percent.
The Bwiti cult is also
practiced by the Babongo and Mitsoko peoples. The
traditional natural religions with their belief in
natural spirits and an ancestral cult mix with elements
from Christianity. Bwiti originated in the middle of the
19th century. Young men are accepted into the community
in an initiation rite. You need to eat large amounts of
the iboga root, which will put you into a high. Music
also plays a role in the ritual.