African Vibrations

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AFRICAN VIBRATIONS



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BURKINA FASO - MALI - NIGER - SENEGAL


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SOUVENIRS D'AFRIQUE... RĂŠpublique DĂŠmocratique du Congo Je me revois adolescente, insouciante et d'une curiositĂŠ dĂŠvorante, dans un avion militaire spartiate direction LĂŠopoldville (Kinshasa). 3UHPLqUH pWDSH /DJRVž GHX[LqPH pWDSH $FFUDž XQH WHUUH URXJH VSRQJLHXVH XQH OXPLqUH RUDQJH DYHXJODQWH XQH KXPLGLWp FDUHVVDQWH GHV JUDQGV RLVHDX[ KLpUDWLTXHV HW LPPRELOHV (QILQ .LQVKDVD 6HV DYHQXHV LQWHUPLQDEOHV VHV PDUFKpV DX[ FRXOHXUV DUF HQ FLHO GHV IUXLWV MDPDLV YXV GX WDSLRFD SDUWRXW XQH YpJpWDWLRQ DX[ IOHXUV FKDUQXHV SUHVTXH YLULOHVžHW XQH IRXOH tantĂ´t en mouvement, tantĂ´t endormie comme hypnotisĂŠe par la chaleur. Des femmes d'une beautĂŠ irritante m’apparaissaient telles des reines, Ă l’allure hautaine, des turbans sur la tĂŞte Ă la structure architecturale. Une force transpirait de leurs corps d'ĂŠbène ! Tout me semblait trop, absurde, des scènes de thÊâtre. Matadi,1 la forĂŞt, le fleuve et puis le spectacle du port qui m’absorbait. Ringo mon ami chimpanzĂŠ qui faisait du vĂŠlo avec moi, pendu sur mon dos. 2 0ERWH ERQMRXUž 0RQ SHUURTXHW JULV %XEL VLIIODLW OH UpYHLO RX OH VLOHQFH GH O DUPpH HW

SURQRQoDLW GHV PRWV DYHF XQ VRQ UDXTXH HW SURIRQG TXL YHQDLW GŠRXWUH WRPEH ,O VH ODLVVDLW caresser docilement pour donner aussitĂ´t après un coup de bec qui laissait des traces SURIRQGHV VXU OD PDLQž SHXW rWUH SRXU VH YHQJHU G rWUH FRQVLGpUp FRPPH OH ERXIIRQ GH QRWUH petite cour d’enfants. Il ĂŠtait capable de chanter comme un refrain une chanson qui passait Ă la radio plusieurs fois par jour et qui est gravĂŠe dans ma mĂŠmoire comme un clou plantĂŠ dans une planche : ÂŤ Mobutu, Mobutu, 5 ans, restera au pouvoir 5 ans, 5 ans...Âť /H UHVWDXUDQW /D 3HUJROD O K{WHO 0HPOLQJž OHV › ER\V Âœ TXL WUDYDLOODLHQW j OD PDLVRQž OD ILOOH TXH PD PqUH DYDLW DFFXHLOOLH SDUFH TXH FKDVVpH SDU OH FKHI FRXWXPLHU GH VRQ YLOODJHž XQH JUDQGH PDLVRQ GDQV OH TXDUWLHU KXSSp GX %RXOHYDUG /XPXPED Je ne voyais que de la force guerrière presque hostile dans les regards noirs et profonds des femmes, des hommes et des enfants, et dans leurs VRXULUHV pEORXLVVDQWV HW DXGDFLHX[ ,OV PH IDLVDLHQW peur ! Ils m'aveuglaient ! Une rĂŠalitĂŠ inconnue, intrĂŠpide, trop dure pour moi ĂŠlevĂŠe dans le coton Ă Rome, une rĂŠalitĂŠ dont mĂŞme aujourd'hui adulte, je ne comprends pas encore le mystère. Ni mĂŞme la source de cette force, de ce tempĂŠrament ĂŠpatant, de ce charme attachant et LQH[SOLFDEOH TXŠpYRTXH OH PRW $)5,&$ Maria Elena Cuomo 9RO /pRSROGYLOOH 0DWDGL &

1 0DWDGL HVW XQ SRUW GH OD 5pSXEOLTXH GpPRFUDWLTXH GX &RQJR HW OD FDSLWDOH GH OD SURYLQFH GX %DV &RQJR ,O HVW VLWXp VXU OD ULYH JDXFKH GX IOHXYH &RQJR HQYLURQ j PL FKHPLQ HQWUH O RFpDQ $WODQWLTXH HW OD FDSLWDOH .LQVKDVD 0DWDGL HVW XQH YpULWDEOH SRUWH RXYHUWH YHUV O H[WpULHXU SRXU O HQWLqUHWp GX SD\V /HV QDYLUHV GH PHU \ DFFRVWHQW HW permettent l'approvisionnement de Kinshasa par le train et la route. 2 6LJQLILH %RQMRXU HQ ODQJXH OLQJDOD /H OLQJDOD HVW DXMRXUGŠKXL ODUJHPHQW UpSDQGX HQ 5'& HW HQ 5pSXEOLTXH GX &RQJR R LO est devenu une langue rĂŠgionale, largement utilisĂŠe dans les mĂŠdias, l’armĂŠe, les discours officiels, mais ĂŠgalement dans la chanson populaire. Outre le français, c’est l’une des quatre langues nationales de la RDC, Ă cĂ´tĂŠ du kikongo, du swahili et du tshiluba.


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AFRICAN MEMORIES... Democratic Republic of Congo I see myself, a light-hearted, inquisitive eager young teenager aboard a military plane preparing to land in the newly appointed capital of Leopoldville, Kinshasa. First stop in Lagos; second stop in Accra; spongy heavy red earth, a blinding orange light, a caressing dampness, huge, hieratic and motionless birds... At long last, this is Kinshasa. Never ending boulevards; markets of rainbow hues; exotic fruits and vegetables never seen before; tapioca on every stall; fleshy flowers and plants, almost virile. People, always in motion or sat on the ground, drowsy and spellbound by the warmth. Ladies of a disturbing beauty, dressed like queens to my astonished eyes. Me, a fair-haired girl from Rome with a post-war conservative and austere inheritance, marvelling at

these

perspiring

majestic

bodies

of

ebony

with

headdresses

to

rival

the

Coliseum

architecture! Everything seemed to me to be in excess; a magical, confusingly overwhelming theatre of the absurd. 1

Matadi, the jungle, the river, the activity of the port which captivated me. ‘Ringo’, my pet chimpanzee who cycled everywhere, arms tight on my shoulders. 2

Mbote, hello! My grey parrot, Bubi, screeched the alarm each morning and pronounced words with a raspy sound which came from beyond the grave. It would let itself caress docilely and peck immediately as if to revenge for being treated the jester of our playground. Its endless daily repetitions of the popular radio song “Mobutu, Mobutu, 5 years, will stay in power 5 years, 5 years...” remains stuck in my head all these decades later. “La Pergola” restaurant, the “Memling” hotel; the young servants; the little girl my mother took under her wing because she had been abandoned by her family... We lived in a grand house on the boulevard Lumumba. For me, a young naive teenager who had never left her native Italy, the dark looks and broad smiles of women, men and children were almost hostile, too strong to cope with. I was scared! I was awestruck! It was a whole new reality for me, who had been so pampered. A reality whose mystery still remains unsolved today. What is the origin of the strength, of

the

splendid

nature,

of

the

appealing

and

inexplicable charm which evokes the word AFRICA? Maria Elena Cuomo

1 Matadi is a port in the Democratic republic of Congo which is also the capital of Bas-Congo province. Matadi is located on the left bank of the Congo river, halfway between the Atlantic ocean and the capital Kinshasa. The port serves as a major import and export point for the whole nation. Cargo ships harbor there and supply trains and trucks heading to Kinshasa. 2 Mbote means ‘Hello’ in Lingala language. Lingala is widely used in both Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo where it has become an official language, largely used in the media, in the army, in the administration as well as in popular culture. Alongside French, Kikongo, Swahili Tshiluba, Lingala is one of the four official languages in Democratic Republic of Congo.


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A niger

sénégal

A

burkina faso

A

A

mali

A

république démocratique du congo


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Afrique en couleurs (2012), Palette de l’ artiste-plasticien Kalidou Kasse, Fondateur de la galerie « Ateliers du Sahel » Dakar, Sénégal

Afrique en couleurs (2012), The Visual Artist Kalidou Kasse’s Palette, Founder - Ateliers du Sahel Gallery, Dakar, Senegal


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Lumière, Couleur, Chaleur Une palette de couleurs, des plantes exubérantes, une chaleur écrasante qui fait danser les formes, des foules bigarrées toujours en mouvement, et par-dessus tout ce formidable élan de vie - un véritable et pur plaisir d’exister. La beauté des femmes à l'allure hautaine pleine de dignité, les fillettes aux cheveux épineux ou ébouriffés, aux sourires éclatants et aux regards malicieux, qui profitent des petites choses de la vie. AFRICA l'explosive, AFRICA la belle, AFRICA la mystérieuse, AFRICA lénifiante mais toujours vibrante !

Light, colours and warmth A Palette of Colours, the exuberant flowers and plants, a stifling suffocating heat that blurs the vision and transforms exotic shapes, rainbow crowds in perpetual movement, an impassioned impulse for life, a pure pleasure of existence. The beauty of women, imperious and full of dignity and their little girls with unique decorated hair, mischievous looks, dazzling smiles, making the most from the simple things in life. Africa Entrancing, Africa Beautiful, Africa Mysterious, Africa Explosive, AFRICAN VIBRATIONS. Maria Elena CUOMO


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Coordination éditoriale / Editorial Coordination Maria Elena Cuomo © Cuomo Foundation, 2016 Tous droits réservés / All Rights Reserved Cuomo Foundation 4, rue R.P. Louis Frolla 98000 Monaco

Multiprint-Monaco ISBN : 978-2-9525938-16



ON THE ROAD TO DJENNÉ, MALI

© 2016 Cuomo Foundation