Bamenda Showbiz: Black Swagger alive 5yrs on despite missing state support, crises

Black Swagger Poetry Slam is five years old. The non-traditional poetry event which is becoming a pacesetter  in the country  postulates that blackness is not an occasion for crying but a strong clarion call to standup, stand out and be proud.

In an interview with the Director of La Liberte Arts group Bamenda Akumbu Jones producer of the show talks to Hilltopvoices on the high and low moments of the show, government support, surviving amisdt the armed conflict and the coronavirus pandemic. .

Hilltopvoices: Thanks Akumbu Jones for accepting to talk to Hilltopvoices. Why did you start Black Swagger? 

AJ: To give our young people a place,a platform to grow to speak out to exercise their talents. It is a Clarion call for us to learn about ourselves as Africans.

Hilltopvoices: Can you share with us what the concept is all about? 

 First backdrop

AJ: The concept was to bridge the gap between the old and Young.As you will find that we have had both very professional and amateurs on the show.Bith old; Hon Tasi Tang Lucas, Dr Fai Donatus. Young Sophie's voice,Mottani,Joyce Babatunde.

Hilltopvoices: Can you tell us about your high moments with the show?  


AJ: Our consistency. In Cameroon most initiatives died after three years in the arts sector.But,we have sustained it,it's because we had multidisciplinary team.This in itself is a success. We are the first arts related events to get corporate sponsorship( Orange). We were were granted the presidential grants for the arts( unfortunately the money disappeared en route to Bamenda).But, we are happy atleast Bamenda was recognised through our efforts. One of our performer was accepted in an international festival.( Mr Vugar Samson was accepted to perform in SIGANA International Festival in Kenya.I have attended several conferences,worksshops as a result of Black Swagger around Africa.

Yembe Nfor... Regular host of the Show


Hilltopvoices: what about your Low moments?

AJ: The frequent ghost towns,it scares audiences,thus low turnouts. We have to halt the show several times because of this.. Also ,we were paying 'authorisation' at the DOs office  before we could produce Black Swagger.The money fluctuated according to the DOs whims. 

Hilltopvoices: What plans for the future? 

AJ: Black Swagger will become a TV show in the near future. We plan to profesionalised the show. In the conflict, the show is refuge,solace where people can express their pain,a place where even the audience can feel their pain expressed and they can be in communion.Its a healing space from trauma.



By Fawah Agather 


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