Malaki Scholastic

This post is also avail­able in: French, Ital­ian

Cul­ture in the school environment

- "You come from Congo and you from Ivory Coast…?
…and you've had never met before.…?

And voila, the short­est way between Braz­zav­ille and Abid­jian passes through Torino, Parigi or Limoges…

"If we (from South Africa) have prob­lems, it is because of apartheid… but you, inde­pen­dent since 1960, what's wrong with you? What under­mines your development?"

These two phrases - pro­nounced at the time when Masengo ma Mbongolo's par­tic­i­pated to the African Fes­ti­val in Italy (1987) and Switzer­land (1988) - rep­re­sented amo­ment of depp think­ing.
The first phrase - repeat­edly pro­nounced by Ital­ians - and the other one - iso­lately said by a South African artist - were the drop mak­ing the vase over­flow­ing and caus­ing this kalei­do­scope named MALAKI MA KONGO  to be born.

1990, the the­atre group named Kongo Dia Ntotela was cre­ated, a group claim­ing the orig­i­nal sources, because - in Masengo's opin­ion - Africa's mis­for­tune is due to the fact that Africa got far away from its ori­gins. That's why the youth's world was cho­sen as an elected place.

The first act was that of accept­ing the chal­lenge launche by the two above phrases through a the­atre piece enti­tled:  Brazza Kin­shasa Via Paris, a Masengo ma Mbongolo's and Nzey van Musala's - from Congo Kin­shasa - co-writing.
This piece was exe­cuted by the Pool Malebo Kongo Dia Ntotela group from Braz­zav­ille.
Finally LUMUMBA and Franklin BUKAKA's prophecy had come true: the Congo river ceased to be a fron­teer for remeta­mor­pho­size itself into a boule­vard unit­ing the two Congoes.

The piece was exe­cuted in many schools of the two world's clos­est cap­i­tal cities: Braz­zav­ille and Kin­shasa. The suc­cess met by these ini­tia­tives con­tin­ued into a big­ger ini­tia­tive that wanted to approach not only the Con­goes' cap­i­tals' youth only any­more,  but also the artists  of the whole Cen­tral Africa.

It hap­pened that way that Nzey's and Masengo's folly - sup­ported by the Kinshasa's Ger­man coop­er­a­tion - will­ing to orga­nize in plain Congo river, on the Mbamou island's Fes­ti­val - an island sited between Braz­zav­ille and Kin­shasa - got unfor­tu­nately reduced - because of Brazzaville's patrons' will - to an inter­na­tional school the­atre fes­ti­val, fol­low­ing the  cir­cum­stan­cial part­ner ACDL's (Cul­tural Alliance for School Institution's the­atre) will.

This hybrid fes­ti­val became how­ever an high meet­ing place for the schools youth from cen­tral Africa. Young school theatre's tal­ents from Gabon, Cameroon, Rep. Cen­tral Africa, Congo Kin­shasa and Congo Braz­zav­ille became beau­ti­fully alive.

As in all cases like this one, this aborted fes­ti­val didn't know but three edi­tions. Once more, in a teared up by war-country, war had the best on artists' passions.

In 1997, all Masengo's savoir faire was needed to get another school fes­ti­val rise up from FITES' ashes, a fes­ti­val that could -  this time - be free from all colo­nial, eco­nom­i­cal, artis­tic and espe­cially the­matic entan­gle­ments. A true Scholas­tic Malaki  ma Kongo  called Grand Prize of School The­atre.

The Malaki School was held by the LAAC. Malaki ma Kongo cul­tural cen­tre was opened.

Such cen­tre pro­moted cul­tural activ­i­ties (fes­ti­val, dance, the­atre, story telling, exhi­bi­tions, poetry…) and had as its own basis for the sale of local food products.

The cen­tre pro­moted, inside the numer­ous school build­ings, the fol­low­ing 6 the­atre pieces:

  • Herb bass or the hand­i­capped person's condition
  • Mar­tin Luther King's dream
  • Call from Ténéré
  • The Mat­suanist Will
  • Brazza Kin­shasa via Paris
  • The Pharaons' Gospel
  • Igno­rance trap

To ful­fill our needs, we set up - in col­lab­o­ra­tion with LAAC Amil­car Cabral Agri­coltural High School 's com­edy stu­dents - the fol­low­ing activities:

  • Restau­rant - African cui­sine among LAAC's orchards
  • African culture's ateliers
  • Agri­cul­tural works (kitchen gar­dens and exchange with Amil­car Cabral Agri­cul­tural High School' s
  • DIDACTICIEL Infor­mat­ics Edu­ca­tion Center
  • Bib­lioteque spe­cial Kongo's culture

In Italy

Dur­ing Malaki's fes­tiv­i­ties in Nove di Bas­sano (VI), schools were once again solicited and the stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing to this cul­tural exchange look today at Africa from a dif­fer­ent angle.

We also worked sev­eral times with pri­mary schools (teach­ing dances, the­atre and drums to kids) and held con­fer­ences at the Uni­ver­sity "La Sapienza" in Rome and the Uni­ver­sity of Padua.