Gabon Lifestyle and Culture

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Gabonese social and cultural life is quite colorful and diverse. Most ethnic groups have managed to hold on to their traditions, and religions for years. There are however French influences, and modern European influences in various areas including religion, art, music, and food. Let’s take a look at the Gabonese lifestyle and culture.


A vast majority of the population of Gabon is Christian, of which the largest group are Catholics.  Other Christian groups are Protestants, the Christian Alliance, and Assemblies of God. Other religious groups include the Muslims, traditional religion, and a syncretic religion known as the Bwiti. Christianity takes up 82% of the population, with 42.3% being Catholics, 12.3% protestant, 27.4% (other Christian groups, assemblies of God, Alliance, etc.), 9.8% Islam, 0.6% traditional beliefs, 7.1% none aligned.

Food and cuisine

Gabon is a country of diversities, it has a unique food culture and recipes passed down for generations. There are various dishes prepared and served by the Gabonese. Some have been fused with both European and French influences but most have managed to maintain their traditional meals and recipes. Ingredients in Gabon include cassava, rice, yams, beef, chicken, fish, bush meat, bananas, tomatoes, onions, corn, sauces, and pepper. Dishes include:

  • Nyembwe- this is chicken with a sauce that is made from palm nut pulp.
  • Atanga- this is boiled Atanga fruit whose flesh is spread on bread. Sometimes it is called bush butter.
  • Brochettes- this is skewered meat that is roasted over an open fire.
  • Fufu- is a dish made out of pounded cassava or cassava flour.
  • Gari- is a thick porridge made out of cassava flour.
  • Congo chewies- this is a desert, originally from Congo.
  • Smoked fish
  • Baked bananas- these are coated with bread crumbs and served with sour cream and sugar.


Music in Gabon is made up of different traditional styles, depending on the different ethnic groups. Several current urban genres like pop, rap, and RnB, however, have also been fused into Gabonese mainstream music. Afrobeat, rhumba, makossa, and soukous are other popular genres in Gabon. Traditional instruments like the iboga and the obala are mostly used in traditional ceremonies and initiations. One popular Gabonese musician is pop star Patience Dabany.


Art in Gabon has been taught from generation to generation. This includes the art of wood carving or sculptures and traditional mask making. These masks are used at traditional ceremonies and events. 


The most popular sport in Gabon is football. Gabon is part of the confederation of African Football (CAF) and has played at several Africa cup of nations finals. The football team is known as the Les Panthers. One notable star from Gabon is Pierre Aymerick Aubameyang who plies his trade with Arsenal. Another sporting codes include basketball, which is another popular sport. Gabon is a member of the International Basketball Federation. They are also involved in Athletics, and Taekwondo where Anthony Obame won a silver medal at the London games in 2012.

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