Faustin Linyekula was born in 1974 when the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ took place in Kinshasa: the legendary boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. In the same period, after becoming politically independent, African countries were searching for their own identity. Ironically, this sometimes lead to cultural statements based on European examples – like the founding of a ‘national ballet’ in several countries. After Guinea and Senegal, it was Zaire's turn to create its Ballet in 1974, bringing together in a single ensemble different music and dance forms from this immense country...
It is interesting and moving to see how African leaders turned to the body, movement and music to invent a certain idea of the nation. But what could have been a formidable laboratory, questioning the "body of the nation", quickly became a propaganda tool and a source of fierce political rivalries.
In this show Faustin Linyekula, joined by three original members of the Zaire National Ballet, revisits the first steps of the young Congolese nation.
Papy Maurice Mbwiti
Wawina Lifeteke, Papy Maurice Mbwiti, Ikondongo Mukoko, Marie-Jeanne Ndjoku Masula, Oscar Van Rompay
Geert de Rodder
Sound & video technician
L’épopée de Lyanja performed by Ballet National de la Compagnie Théâtre National Congolais (excerpts)
Virginie Dupray/Studios Kabako, Greet Prové/NTGent
With support from
the Belgian Tax Shelter
In collaboration with
Ballet National de la Compagnie Théâtre National Congolais and Isaano/ Positive Production (Kigali)
Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme project Create to Connect, Create to Impact
Presented in Portugal with the support of Institut Français