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Les Maîtres des Codes

From the origin of humanity, the tribe is the original and universal form of society.

Any society, whether tribal or modern, is built on an identity architecture which is its genetic marker.

This architecture rests on four bases which make its Tradition: a History, a Culture, a Belief, a Language.

Tradition is the fundamental cog because it carries social cohesion in its matrix.

It must therefore be respected by rules. For these companies, belonging to the group goes through the acquisition of these rules, that of spiritual, vital and organizational knowledge.

Belonging to the group is essential because the existential enhancement of the individual is its culmination. It is the initiation rites which transmit this knowledge and authorize group aggregation and ascension in its hierarchy.

But writing, the vehicle of communication and knowledge does not yet exist. It is therefore the role of all these heterogeneous objects of Tribal Art to replace it to codify social life.

They are the "Masters of the Codes".

They embody through the power or the fear they inspire, the sacred authority of the ancestors.

They are the glue of the group.

They intervene in all acts of life.

They are the ones who tell the story, the achievements of the lineage, the strength of the ancestors. They are the ones who set the prohibitions.

They are the ones who seal the agreements. It is they who transmit knowledge.

They are the ones who do justice.

They are the ones who bring prosperity and fertility or cast bad luck.

It is they who especially interfere between the world of the living and that of the spirits and reveal by the divinatory act of the oracle, all that can constitute a threat to social understanding.

But they also have the function of entertaining and can also represent the pride and suffering of a people in the face of colonial oppression, like the Lekoka of the Teke-Tsaayi.


These pieces are the spirit of the bush, his thought, his cohesion, his spirituality and nowadays his memory, not to say his A.D.N. This is what they reveal to us, which we must appropriate.

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