This Tuesday, January 18, was held on the campus of Abomey-Calavi a training seminar for media professionals. Entitled the words and their history in writing and talking about vodùn, the said seminar is part of the international scientific colloquium with the theme : Vodùn in a changing world: from Cartesian pretension to mantic rationality. Indeed, vodùn being typically Beninese, who better to talk and write its history than the country’s journalists? Unfortunately, the realities and specificities of the vodùn universe are often badly expressed in the Beninese press, due to lack of information. This is due to the fact that French, the language used to convey the message, does not take into account our endogenous traditions and therefore does not always offer the appropriate words to say exactly who we are. “The lexical field used to express vodun is problematic and must be improved,” said Professor Raymond Coovi Assogba, initiator of the seminar, Sociologist-Anthropologist and Boologist, lecturer/Cames.
The responsibility of media professionals for a balanced society
Aware of the fundamental role of the men of the media in the preservation of the dignity and the safeguarding of cultures, the speaker emphasized on the problem of the choice of the words to write and to speak about Vodun through very specific case studies. Journalists are then invited to construct an appropriate lexicon to express the realities of the vodùn universe. “If the journalists manage to find the appropriate lexical and semantic field to express the sociability of the vodùn, the chemistry of the manipulation, the clichés, the prejudices from which there was injection of the prejudices of the religions or the avatars of the capitalism will be transformed so that we have a balanced society” reassures the speaker.
The vodùn, victim of the circumstances is often demonized, distorted and source of confusion. Anything in which the actors of the communication participate, necessarily in bad faith. By confusing “dignitaries” with “vodùnon”, “Lègba” with “devil”, “priest of Fâ” with “convent of vodùn”; it is a mishmash which does not balance the youth, the readers” he added to draw the attention of the professionals of the media on the epistemological war to which Africa faces in a general way The world being in full mutation, we are today at the border of two different ideologies: the traditional society and the modern one. And for the ideology of development to shine, traditional society must disappear. However, a disappearance of this society implies the loss of our identity.
Understanding vodùn ?
Initiated by the Laboratory of Boology and Integral Development (LaBooID) which considers that it is necessary to start from the fundamental of Fâ-Vodùn-Boto implement a new way of living, an important zoom was made on the vodùn which is similar to an iceberg of which the 2/3 are immersed and of which one can never understand the depth. “The vodùn is very deep” said the Director of the said laboratory, Prof. Dr. M. M. S. Raymond Coovi Assogba.
Despite the cleavages generated by modernity, the vodùn, source of knowledge, brings to Benin a new world from 1992, the year in which President Soglo dedicated the 10th of January to endogenous religions supports the Professor.
Journalists who are better informed about vodùn must now choose the appropriate words to address the cultural issues that concern vodùn. The seminar, rich in debate sessions, is a plus for media professionals who, with their pen, can promote joy or sadness, anguish or death.
As a reminder, the said training workshop is part of the activities of the international scientific symposium to be held on the campus of Abomey-Calavi on January 19, 20 and 21, 2022 and which brings together several African countries on how to reposition the vodùn at the heart of development.