Zmâla : Génération Elili
Libreville, hip-hop style
Baudoin Mouanda / Génération Elili
Movaiz Haleine, Communauté Black, 241, Pacificator, Hayoe… Hip-hop groups make up almost all the music programmes on Gabon’s television. A large part of the population can identify with the lyrics that give emphasis to their daily lives and their worries. They are young people who sing and put forward messages that are clearly political: “We’re fighting for change, the sharing of public money, against corruption and embezzlement”, explains Leint’s, a young, 23-year-old rapper. For despite the petrol manna, Gabon is still listed as one of the poorest countries. Access to jobs remains difficult and future prospects are uncertain.
“Our texts retranscribe the atmosphere in which we live, our lives sold by auction, our neighbourhoods invaded by mud”, declares Mich Mwuna in his small studio where he welcomes other young people who also come to record their texts. They manifest their activism by mixing ‘fang’* with French. They assert their originality and invent new words by playing on language. They are the voice of a whole new generation.
Young artists have found a medium through which they can express themselves. Their thirst for words is proclaimed loud and strong at the Gabao hip-hop festival, every year at Libreville. Just as Naneth, a rapper who is well-known by the people of Libreville claims: “We have so much to say we could get a record out every day. We want to express ourselves freely, while we’re still breathing.”
*African language from northern Benin and Cameroon.
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