Equatorial Guinea is considered as the third smallest country in Continental Africa in terms of population of only 600,000. Its capital is Malabo City in Bioko Island, which is one of the five islands and the territory of Rio Muni in the mainland comprising the entire republic. Its official language is Spanish, making it as the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. Part of the population also speaks French.
The country has no compulsory military service but the US and Spain provide military to individuals. The Army has 1100 persons but does not have main battle tanks; the Navy has 120 personnel and two patrol boats; and the Air force, 100 personnel but has no combat aircraft.
A traditional Fang musical instrument, the mvett is a harp-zither made of three gourds, the stem of a leaf of the raffia plant, and cord of vegetable fibers. The fibers are plucked like guitar strings. Mvett players are highly respected. Other insturments include drums, xylophones made by stringing logs together and striking them with sticks, and the sanza, a small piano-like instrument with keys of bamboo that is played with the thumbs.
It is a predominately Muslim community. People in Guinea dress similar to other countries in West Africa. The clothing tends to be loose and conservative, though specific clothing styles vary depending on ethnicity. Traditionally men wear long loose gowns or robes over loose pants that are tapered at the mid calf. Though now it is common to see men in long pants and a t-shirt or light long sleeved shirt. Women wear long dresses or loose tops with long skirts, often with colorful patterns on them. It is common for women to wear a head wrap and for men to wear a hat.
Travelers to Guinea should pack loose, conservative clothing. Women should be sure midriffs and thighs are covered by clothing. Skirts that go below the knee, long dresses and long pants are all reasonable choices for women. Men should bring light long pants. Shorts are not commonly worn. It is helpful to bring polo shirts or button down shirts.
Folk art is rich and varies by ethnic group. On Bioko, the Bubi people are known for their colourful wooden bells. The makers of the bells embellish them with intricate designs, engravings, and shapes.
In Ebolova, women weave baskets more than two feet high and two feet across to which they attach straps. They use these to haul produce and garden tools from their field. Equatorial Guineans make many hats and other objects, especially baskets of all kinds. Some baskets are so finely woven that they hold liquids such as palm oil.
Article by Harshika Sapra