Hip hop a l’africaine

I tried to replicate something that I had been enchanted with in Madagascar where a large group of people was randomly divided in smaller groups and each assigned a dance. The Malgaches are very playful. The idea, when transferred here, didn’t take quite as well. Our European facilitators weren’t all that hot about being silly in front of others,

My Senegal co-facilitator and I had left the session and taken two moto taxis to go to the market where he skillfully negotiated the purchase of 7 baseball caps for my team that was assigned to showcase hip hop. The caps had logos of random businesses and sports teams in US and England.

I had no Europeans on my team which was probably a good thing. The West africans were more playful and willing to be silly. One woman of high societal and hierarchical status, and always dressed in fine boubous and head dresses, took to the idea. She studied some You-Tube videos on hip hop and figured the main movements of arms and legs and the sounds one makes in the process. With the baseball cap sideways on top of her headdress she was quite a sight. We practiced to together whenever we heard music that we thought was hip hop, giggling like school girls.

The talent show, to be done during our soiree sociale on Thursday niight didn’t work out as planned. The restaurant was essentially a streetside cafe. There was no stage or room to perform. Two giant TV screens ran music videos, showing scenes that I would classify as soft or medium porn. I sat next to sister Annnemarie from Central Africa. She didn’t seem to mind. I couldn’t stand watching the videos and traded places, preferring to look at a bare wall rather than the screens.

But when the hip hop music came on (or what we thought was hip hop), Madame and I put our basecall caps sideways and started to dance. There are now videos floating around Africa with the two of us dancing hip hop (or so we think).

Although the food was lousy, the company was good and many of us had a good time.

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