This article is a machine translation from French. Click ‘Français’ in the menu to read the original text.
This first edition of Vuga Festival will have changed the image of slam with the new concept of Street slam. The idea behind it is, as Prince Charming Iradukunda, the president of the Festival, points out, “to make the slam meet people“. The locations of the flash mobs are not chosen by chance. Geographically first by taking Kamenge, Kanyosha and the city centre, it is almost covering all of Bujumbura from north to south through the centre. Culturally too! Kamenge has been a slam pool for some years now with active groups like Yetu slam and others from the Kamenge Youth Centre that bring together young people from the northern districts of Bujumbura. Kanyosha is the king of the southern districts of Buja. The great artists of urban music have taken up residence here. No wonder the slam didn’t stay on a leash. The city centre plays the role of a melting pot that brings together artists from different backgrounds
Everywhere, people who didn’t know before slam were won over by these young people who chant the words with brio. Street slam has also contributed to the deconstruction of the preconceived idea that slam is an art reserved for the patio of the Institut Français. “It’s clear I won’t miss any more slam scenes. Before I expected people to talk about slam, I thought it was something related to Islam,” said a young man from Kanyosha.
Slam as a link that unites peoples and cultures
The Great Lakes region is often the scene of disasters. Between the countries that compose it, diatribes often appear everywhere. Rwanda and Burundi, which have a stormy diplomatic relationship. Burundi claims that its northern neighbour to the north is the land is home to coup rebels and a deterioration of relations follows. The DRC is seen as the breeding ground for rebel groups that attack Burundi but also massacre Congolese populations and rape girls and women. The Congo often accuses Rwanda of looting its mining resources, while Rwanda in turn accuses its neighbour of harbouring genocidaires it does not want to bring to justice. In short, the atmosphere is electric in the region.
For the duration of a slam scene, we were able to go beyond these political quarrels. The Great Lakes evening demonstrated how much the slam can be a bridge that connects people. “Ending the time of the so-called hypocritical Rwandans, the tribalist Burundians and the con artists,” Serge Le Griot said. Alidor, a Congolese slammer-rapper made him travel the audience with his words to his hometown. Thanks to his worms, a beautiful escape took place in Bukavu that he brushed with mastery that we thought we were in the middle of the street of this city.
Cultures met and the fusion was most admirable. To the tunes of Congolese rumba, we slammed. In Kirundi, against a background of traditional drums, we slammed. In Malagasy, a language that no one – or almost no one – understood in the Caylah audience set the scene on fire. Far from the differences, slam has been able to unite peoples!