Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

African masks typically have a spiritual significance

Masks are seen as African art in America however, masks are more than a decorative element displayed in the home. African masks are sacramental, ritualistic, and an important piece of the traditional culture and art of the peoples of Africa. African masks typically have a spiritual significance. These masks are used in dances, marriage ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and other special events. Every mask has a sacred meaning.


Masks have always been important to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The Gungu Festival first took place 1925-1960 under the name Saga or Luvidi Pende to observe the independence of the Kingdom of Belgium in the capital of the territory of Gungu. From 1986-1998 the festival returned under the name Festival Gungu, but once again the festival became inactive. However, in 2008 the festival was once again renamed the Socio-Cultural Festival Gungu and is now known as the Gungu National Festival.  

The National Festival Gungu or FESNAG is held in Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga province in the southeast of Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The National Festival Gungu aims to promote and make known to the Congolese people diversities of cultures of different communities of the DRC.  Artists from all 11 provinces of the DRC, from Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Congo, Mali, and international artists participate in the festival.
The National Festival Gungu

The National Festival Gungu is usually 3-7 days spent enjoying traditional songs and dances. From July 19 to 22, 2014 the 14th festival took place in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province, the theme was

"National cohesion, consolidation of peace and the fight against violence against women in the region by the traditional culture." This year’s event is scheduled for July 13-15, 2015 in Gungu, Kikwit in the southwestern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The theme for this year’s festival is “The permanence and revival of cultural values, a catalyst for development."


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