Video: Babongo Funeral

The Babongo people, or Bongo people, in Gabon, lead fascinating lives that are wildly different from the lives many of us lead in Western civilization. The Babongo funeral is an example of this. When BBC’s Bruce Parry went to Gabon to explore, a woman and a baby died in the village he was visiting shortly after his arrival. He and his crew (one member of which was Jonathan Clay, who hosts the above video on his Vimeo account) accepted an invitation to stay and decided to film the funeral festivities. Beginning with abundant grief, the village dismisses the spirits of the dead with drumming, dancing and other rituals. This short clip from BBC’s “Tribe” is distressing and informative. After all, how we honor our dead reflects how we define ourselves.