© Mariusca MoukengueThis article is a machine translation from French. Click ‘Français’ in the menu to read the original text.
I am Mariusca Moukengue slam artist Congolese artist of about twenty years. Since 2018, I have initiated a slam project that aims to repair the violence experienced by young people and especially women, called Slamunité (Slamunity). As the concept indicates, ‘Slamunity’, is an artistic expression of the Slam which advocates unity. Through my art, I am closer to vulnerable children, to children abandoned to the street and those who are not in school. Because I am well aware of the place of art as therapy in society, being myself the fruit of the healing virtues that Slam has offered me for the wounds of my life! Slamunité was first an idea of an artistic adventure around the oral tradition in my country before people thought it was pan-African and wanted through it to promote slam in a conflicting youth environment through workshops, meetings and shows”. I am very concerned about the social situation of the child because I have lived in an environment where children do not necessarily have a word to say, and often when they are victims of violence or aggression, they are forced to remain silent for fear of being singled out.
Thus in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, thanks to the support of the European Union and the French Institute of Congo, I was able to initiate young girls who are victims of sexual violence to slam in 2018 and 2019, a way for me not only to allow these young girls to come out of their silence but also to give them the opportunity to make a living from this art. With “Slamunity power of the women” and “Slamunity Girls”, we have been able to promote, on the one hand, the learning of slam for the youngest girls and, on the other hand, to give this vulnerable group the opportunity to rediscover the joy of living in a visceral environment.
“Slamunity is an innovative concept, a new experience of a very enriching artistic life, we give a voice to young people who have remained silent for too long. Making room for a voice for a youth enlightened about its future”, this is the meaning of my commitment and that of my team on this project. Yes my team because a single finger cannot clean a whole face. We work with the cultural magazine Africulturelle.com based in Senegal, which has been with us since the1st edition, Zhu Culture, Les Courageux Kouloutch and Cleo Konongo, as well as Mbongui Art Photo directed by Zed Lebon Chansard. Moreover, the Slamunity project has a pan-African vocation in that it aims to go where it is needed to speak slam and beyond continental borders. Foumban in Cameroon, Lubumbashi in DRC, Dolisie and Brazzaville in Congo have already benefited from this project. I am well aware that the challenges are enormous, but above my head, the sky is so infinite. We need to popularize slam in a youth environment and ensure that this art can also contribute to the growth of younger people and challenge the collective conscience on development issues.
We are currently working on the next edition of Slamunité with the Réseau des Intervenants sur le Phénomène des Enfants en Rupture (REIPER) in Congo, for the end of October 2020. The trainings are divided into two phases: a theoretical phase and a practical phase which will be sanctioned by a restitution show. Violence, tolerance, aggression, public speaking, personal development, youth entrepreneurship that we address in our workshops. But for this edition, we will focus on the issue of the protection of the rights of the child, and of course, we will discuss other themes as well. I remain hopeful that little by little the march will be less painful. Like a child, my team and I are convinced that the slam has a better tomorrow. At the same time, I thank you very much for this moment of exchange.