Contes et identité : Wanto dans les contes gbaya et dans la communication actuelle
Gbaya tales portray gods, humans and animals living as human beings in villages, hunting, gathering and cultivating plants. Wanto, a spider, is the most recurrent character of these tales: he is the one who brings civilization to Gbaya people. My paper points out Wanto’s difference from the other characters and analyzes the complexity of his status. He is the only character whose name can be used as a name for a man. Most other names are specific to a tale, like Snow White in European tales, and cannot be attributed to people. For the Gbaya, Wanto epitomizes the essence of human beings. In fact, on the Internet, it appears that Wanto is always mentioned and claimed as the symbol of Gbaya identity by Gbaya artists. The fundamental role of Wanto in building Gbaya identity shows that oral literature is still vibrant and finds its place in new communication media.
Keywords: Central African Republic (CAR/RCA), Gbaya identity; Gbaya oral tradition; oral tradition and new media, Wanto, the spider character.