IOM Central African Republic (CAR) together with the Alliance Française of Bangui organized from 21-26 April a theatre, music and dance festival in Boda, 150 km west of the capital.
The festival, under IOM CAR’s European Union (EU)-funded Community Stabilization Project, is aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence and economic revitalization in the country.
The festival included a play: “La Soupe de Sidonie”, showcasing the story of a Christian-Muslim household preparing a dinner with typical Central African ingredients for “big John”, a donor visiting the country. The festival continued with a play showcasing three Central African fairy tales “Danse avec Dambalet.”
Lucien Dambalet, a famous Central African storyteller, actively contributes to the preservation of the oral tradition of information sharing through storytelling and the conservation of collective memories in the country. Together with a group of musicians and dancers, he retells Central African fairy tales focusing on topics of forgiveness, solidarity and dialogue. The texts were translated from Sango to French.
Following two days of shows, which brought together hundreds of people from Boda’s different communities, three workshops were organized targeting Boda’s youth and artists. The workshops aimed at enhancing the capacity of local artists to use traditional music and dance to create a sense of belonging and living together among Boda’s different communities.
“I appreciate this initiative as it helps our different communities to experience a different way of interacting. We are focusing on something different, how to dance. And we all dance the same way no matter how we were brought up. The entire week, I have thought of nothing but dancing and music, trying to remember the different steps,” said Gloria, who took part in the dance workshop.
“I didn’t realize that I am so engrossed in this that I have not once thought about whether the people in the room might belong to a different group. Everyone talks to us about conflict, but this is so different. I cannot wait for the final day and our big show. I hope that everyone comes and sees us,” she added.
By reviving these traditions in communities heavily affected by conflict, the project not only contributes to positive collective experiences, but also supports the creation of a space for the preservation of traditional art forms.
For further information, please contact Anne Schaefer at IOM CAR. Tel: +23672187635, Email: email@example.com