Going to Africa?
According to Nick Sandberg Westerners are not advised to travel to the
region to undergo the Bwiti initiation ceremony. He states: 'The Bwiti initiation ritual, as
this "rebirth" ceremony has come to be known, has in recent years attracted the attention of
some Westerners who find themselves romantically drawn to the notion of travelling to the region
and undertaking it themselves. Anyone considering doing this should be aware of three things.
Firstly, that both the Cameroun and Zaire, two of the three countries where the Bwiti are
located, are now regarded as being acutely dangerous for Westerners (Zaire especially).
Secondly, that, in Gabon, the remaining country, only the least reputable groups would usually
consider initiating Westerners, and then almost certainly only undertake the task for financial
gain, likely in a half-hearted fashion. Finally, it should be remembered that each year some
local initiates are believed to die during the ceremony, bizarre court cases between parents
and priests frequently resulting.'
Apart from these reasons it can be a very difficult experience
as it is tied up in local custom which is much tougher than Western practise
with few of the conveniences one may be accustomed to.