This Utrecht festival of international music and culture is presenting a series of video reports on their online TV channel as part of the “Reports from Other Continents” project. The series will travel to the DRC to the town of Sake, where the inhabitants heal their trauma through traditional folk dance.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the director, producer and human rights champion Horeb Bulambo Shindano went to meet the musician Baeni Mukuba who had the brilliant idea of organising a weekly folklore show to free the inhabitants of Sake from their trauma. The featured video is about a young group from two families from Sake, a town located 30 km west of Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the past 20 years, the people of Sake have been forced to leave their town for fear of conflict. As with other parts of eastern Congo, many Sake women have been raped, and many children have been abducted to join armed groups. These atrocities meant that the population of Sake were living in a state of psychosis and permanent trauma. To remedy this, Baeni Mukuba launched his own remedy: a weekly public traditional folklore show to heal the wounds of the town in his own way.
Although this ritual is not explicitly mentioned, we can imagine that the Ekongo dance, a parade of war, plays a part through its expression of bravery and the supple yet frantic rhythm of its jumps and movements. The instruments also play a very important role: four djembes, two of which play sono and two others that play accompaniment, with the musicians clad in outfits made partly of animal skin. By embodying courage, this liberating dance tells the story of a people who are victims of conflict and whose only way to survive is through dance and music.