REFUGEES ON THE MOVE: THE CENTRAL AFRICAN CHAPTER TAKES OFF IN BATALIMO

Tuesday 19 March 2013
Boniface Watanga talks to the children of Batalimo © Boniface Watanga
Boniface Watanga talks to the children of Batalimo © Boniface Watanga
Boniface Watanga and a local school director during a performance of
Boniface Watanga and a local school director during a performance of "Solidarité" © Boniface Watanga
Men participate in the dance workshops © Boniface Watanga
Men participate in the dance workshops © Boniface Watanga
Kêkerêke performs
Kêkerêke performs "Solidarité" © Boniface Watanga
Rehearsals take place in the Batalimo camps © Boniface Watanga
Rehearsals take place in the Batalimo camps © Boniface Watanga

In 2011, African Artists for Development (AAD) launched “Refugees on the Move” in Chad with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a follow-up to this initial success, the second chapter of the program kicked off in the Batalimo refugee camp in the Central African Republic on March 4. The objective remains the same – to use dance as a tool of social and cultural mediation within the refugee camps of Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Led by the Central African choreographer Boniface Watanga and his dance company Kêkerêke, the workshops have brought together approximately one hundred men, women and children. Hip-hop and traditional dance are taught, with story-telling exercises for the young. To open this first phase of workshops in the country, the members of the Kêkerêke dance troupe performed “Solidarité”, an original creation by the company that highlights the importance of helping one another out in a community.

 

“Refugees on the Move” also presents itself as an opportunity to organize contact with local populations. “Solidarité” was even brought to the villages of Batalimo, reaching a larger audience.

 

Two other month-long workshops will take place in the country, with the first already promising to be another milestone in this AAD flagship project. Efforts do not stop there, however, as AAD is currently in works to bring the program to Tanzania and Burundi by the end of the year.