index 2.jpgPlaying under the Baobab tree

Second to last Ntcheu show at Gomani Village, we play on the top of a hill bathed by the light of the setting sun, next to a huge Baobab tree. Our show becomes more honed smooth and fun with the audience and the audience cheers and laughs with us. In the end the atmosphere in the audience is peaceful, open, and listening. Then, like after all the shows there is an burst of desire to come and play with us. We get out the hula hoops and the jump rope and the party continues.

In the show we promote one of YONECO’s projects, 116, the emergency number for the protection of abused children and rape against minors. The number 116  becomes more and more prevalent in the show. When the clowns have a problem, we call 116 on our Bananaphone.  Our other numbers, The Flower pots, Taxi, “When I grew up I would become …” all have serious themes that mix with the funny. Then our two traditional dances, “Canada and the Lecuba” both performed with live music and with songs that speak of children and women protection.

(Just to say while writing this text I am surrounded by a family of monkeys looking for nibbling crumbs in the cafe).

The artists in this project Chimwemwe (Happiness) are magnificent. This is a great team and the chemistry is complex and rich. I present you …

Banana / Annabel CSF South Africa who was born in Malawi. This tour is a journey back to her childhood. She is surrounded before and after every show by hundreds of children because she has a magical and happy energy and a real love that children can feel. Actor Matabule  plays a very old fool like an African Pantalone. He is well known here as he also plays on TV. He is fast, acrobatic, and playing with all his heart. He also has malaria which kicks in unpredictably. Both the dancers and singers, Mada and Lucy, are learning to play with the red nose and join us in our chases and other bits in the show. Rachel became our musical conductor after the departure of the band of musicians when we left Zomba. She keeps the sound going smoothly and thanks to Mrs. Mahlua we are happy in our ears. Then there’s Freddy who is already a good actor and is a clown in the making. He asks to find a school in Europe to follow theatre studies. Then our sumo clown and quintessential actor Sibusiso\Binini who studied at Lecoq in Paris and lets his art travel all over Africa and the world. He’s always surprising, poetic and hold the stage. He also collects reations from the audience to have a record of what they think for the CWB office in South Africa, here’s a good one…

“We have never seen anything like this in our village … before the show I was bored … then the show made me laugh, but too much!”

Blog entry by Kevin Brooking