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Bongo is a funny word but it gets used quite a lot.

What is it about the word BONGO.  It's a funny word.  It simply can't be serious.  You can't imagine a serious organisation called Bongo or, when it comes to that, you couldn't really take someone seriously who's name was Bongo.  Bongo is in the same category as boing, blubber and billabong, There was once a dog called Bongo on my grandmother's mantle piece.  It might have been a Boston Terrier but I don't know.  And it seems a lot of people do call their dogs Bongo.

ali bongo Ali Bongo was the stage name of a famous British comic magician who's real name was William Wallace - Not the famous national Scottish hero of the same name.  Ali Bongo was a prolific magician famous for his strange oriental presentation.  He dressed extravagantly in robes and curly toed slippers with a turban and incongruous horn rimmed glasses.  You can find out more about this magician who was the president of the Magician's Circle on wikipedia and there is an obituary in the Guardian.

bongo drums Bongo drums are a Cuban invention believed to have developed from Djembe drums brought over from Africa during the slave trade.  Bongos are a small pair of drums which are joined together and one is slightly larger than the other.  Usually made with wood and a single skin of leather on each drum.  There is a web site called Rhythmweb which was started by Eric Stuer where you can find out all about bongo drums and there are places you can buy bongos on the drums page.

There is a company called Bongo which provides a forwarding service for American goods.  Many American companies will only deliver to American addresses.  A bit parochial these Americans.  But Bongo allows you to set up an American address and will then forward stuff to you anywhere in the world.  They even have a Bongo Buddy which (or should that be who) is an internet assistant.

bongo molecule In the University of Cambridge there is a department which concerns itself with non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms.  These are known as nsSNPs and are basically part of the genome sequences found in living organisms.  By studying these complex molecules from the human genome sequence it is found that some are strongly associated with certain diseases.  In order to analyse the structures of these molecules they have developed some software to predict the structural changes in proteins arising from single point mutations in these nsSNPs.  For a rather whimsical reason the software is called Bongo which supposedly stands for Bonds ON Graphs but actually comes from an American burger bar in California.

mazda bongo Then there is the slightly weird Mazda Bongo Campervan! which was first built in 1966 but they are still being made.  It is also exported under the name Ford Econovan but it is the very same thing.  Perhaps some people would prefer to drive an Econovan than a budget Bongo.

every-one-does-it For many years bongs have been used to smoke cannabis.  A bong is basically a water pipe or a way to smoke cannabis (or any other substance) by filtering it through water.  Apparently it gives you a cool smoke.  In reality folk think it makes the smoking of cannabis safer because it cools the smoke.  They are possibly right on that account but it has two other significant effects.  One is that it filters out more of the psychoactive ingredients than the tar which is definitely harmful and the other is that studies show that there are less incidence of cancer in people who filter smoke through water.  It's complicated but true.  This is all leading to the web site called alibongo where you can purchase Head Stuff and bongs I guess.  There, see, you can't take the name Bongo seriously.  If, incidentally, you are looking for other drug related paraphernalia a good source is Every One Does It where you can get everything from solar powered phone rechargers to Roor bongs.

bongo club edinburgh The Bongo club in Edinburgh is a cult venue for the underground and marginalised musicians and artists.  By day it is a coffee shop and exhibition space and transforms at night into a multi-media avant-garde venue for theatre and music and any other creative ideas.  The Bongo Club is in Holyrood Road and works at continuing to break the mould of what a night club "should" be.

Then there is the Bongo text messaging question and answer web site organisation thingy.  The idea being that you can text a question to them and they will send a one text answer back.  It costs £1.50 and seems like a weird idea to me.  Hey you can ask me any question you like for £1.50 and I will endeavour to answer it.

bongo antelope Bongo are also large rain forest antelope.  In fact they are the largest of the forest antelope and are only found in dense forest in certain parts of Africa.  Although the Bongo club in Edinburgh might be assumed to be named after the bongo drums it actually has one of these magnificent animals as it's logo.  You can find out more about the Bongo on the African Wildlife Foundation website.  The AFW is a neat organisation which has been working for years to protect and maintain the wildlife in Africa.  Their web site is worth a browse.  If you are looking for other charities related to Africa and wild life take a look at our charities page.

At the top of this page I said you couldn't take the name Bongo seriously but a certain Albert Bernard Bongo who was born in 1935 evidently did.  Maybe it's a bit like a boy named Sue.  Maybe it was because of his name rather than in spite of it that Mr. Bongo became the ruthless president of Gabon for 42 years.  He changed his name to El Hadj Omar Bongo when he converted to Islam in 1973.  Why, when he had the opportunity to drop the Bongo, he didn't I don't know.

Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the bongo drums and antelope pictures.

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