Poetry, flames, epic slangs, soft laughs, memorable one-liners, wet cheeks… these never leave you indifferent after attending Buea’s Griot nights. The silent night and birds chirping at the CURELF hill and sweet scented food joggling your nasal nerves – just awesome.
For a while however, this experience was lost and the joy and contentment it brought, sent to the background. Griot night events were halted. To the joy of many, the artist display event is back and better.
Dozens turned up to witness the Griot Hub ‘great return’ on Saturday April 2nd, 2022, themed Resurgence. Che Joy, Dalma, JennyBrown, Noah Inkman and more mounted the stage to give the audience a run for their time. Nyangha Sandy too [one of my personal favourites] was there. She never disappoints. Watch her performance here.
Beyond creatives and their audiences having fun and communing together, the return of the griot night is a light on the horizon, and a victory for art lovers yearning to express themselves.
In the early days of the Anglophone crisis, many found the griot event as a safe space from the regular gunshots and the armed men parading the town of Buea, capital of one of two regions under dispute. A majority of those at the griot hub events were young people, a group found at the centre of the violence, wearing the shoes of victims, perpetrators and aid workers.
Griot hub was to many, the only realm to showcase the ability to advocate and seek non-violent solutions, as well as attempt to have a ‘normal life’ in the midst of all the chaos. The COVID pandemic however compounded fear and cut them off from the lone root to which they clung. This it did by introducing a mental limitation to the already arduous task of physical encounters and performances.
It was therefore for many, months without poetry, without sketches or live music or smiling faces. Of course there were a couple of other performances that flickered on the chariot of the gods. Their contribution is not to be undermined. The absence of the griot hub however remained that important piece missing from the self-expression puzzle of many.
After months of waiting, they will have to seek no more.
Griot hub has resurged, flipping the page to make its events more engaging and fulfilling.
More essentially, it is again giving voice to the many who continue to be choked by the trauma and psychosocial misfortunes brought about by the armed conflict.
Images: Nyangha Sandy via Facebook
– Giyo Ndzi