In a foreword written by Auguste Miabeto, a specialist in Sub-Saharan African oral literature and traditions, and the director of the International Center for Research-Education of the Kongo Civilization, he outlines the significance of the publication. “S.R. Kovo N’Sondé’s adaptations are a call to recognise the diversity in the various centers of Congolese culture,” he explains, “[it is] an attempt to share our oral traditions without distorting them.”
By its very nature, a project like Congo Tales is bound to attract scrutiny and skepticism—what makes a German collective believe they have the right to tell these stories? Who benefits from its production? As Miabeto notes, the publishing of this book is a necessary step for the preservation not just of this vast rainforest area, but also of the cultures of those who call it home. “Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a biotope comprising thousands of creatures”, he explains, “an immense and precious reservoir which, like these myths, proverbs, tales, and events, must be saved from destruction.”
This collaboration between the people of Mbomo and Tales of Us illustrates the potential of such publishing endeavors to act as bridges between cultures—empowering and educating both sides in the process.