Nzebi people



The Nzebi are a Bantu people from Central Africa established in Gabon and the Republic of Congo, speaking several dialects including Bandjabi, Adouma, Awandji, Batsiagui, Sihou (or Bassissihou).

According to sources there are several variants: Bandjabi, Bandzabi, Banjabi, Banzabi, Benzali, Ndjabi, Ndzabi, Ndzebi, Njabi, Njavi, Njawi, Nyawi, Nzabis, Nzebi

According to the oral tradition, the Nzebis come from the village Koto, located in the province of NgouniƩ, Gabon.

There are seven clans in this ethnic group: the Maghambas; the Mouandas; the Bassangas; the Mitshimbas; Cheyis the Baghulis (Barouli); the Mboundous. These clans were created by the seven patriarchs, born of Nzebi, their ancestor.

Global population is 210.500, and 187,00 live in Gabon.


Introduction / History

The majority of the Nzebi people live in small villages and towns spread across the forested lands of southern Gabon with a small population over the border in southwestern Congo (Brazza). Many, however, are found in the major urban centers of Gabon, especially in the capital, Libreville. The church was well established amongst the Nzebi beginning in the 1930s through the Christian & Missionary Alliance. Today, a congregation meets in nearly all Nzebi villages for worship and teaching.

Some still follow the traditional pagan religion, Mbuti, and especially in the villages there is much nominal Christianity with syncretism of Christian practice and traditional religion. Spiritual needs include the whole Bible in the vernacular, greater use of the vernacular as opposed to French in worship and preaching, and trained pastors and lay leadership for village churches.

They are primarily subsistence farmers who grow manioc, plantains, corn, yams, sugarcane, taro, peppers, oranges, pineapples, and bananas. Small cash crops include coffee, peanuts, palm oil, dried fish, and yams in local markets. The Nzebi also hunt and fish. They are adequately educated with a fairly high literacy rate in French. Gabon's stability, established through good leadership and rich oil reserves, has made electricity and clean water available to many in the cities, towns, and villages though some towns and villages are still without one or the other of these.