Stories of Diversity: Reina-Flor

The Power of African Storytelling: How It Shaped My Journey

I can’t think of childhood without thinking of “Bata littoral”. I grew up in the coastal side of Equatorial Guinea, a place where my ethny “the Ndowe people” come from. As a child, I played on the beach, river and in the village of my grand-parents called Mejokoloké.  This was before I moved to France with my parents, leaving my family in E.Q. You may be surprised by the word family. After all, parents are enough. But this was me and all my cousins lived, all together playing and sleeping at the place my grand-parents had built for all their 8 children and grandchildren.

I remember the energy of the early 80’s, a time when the political situation was tense. But still, I must say for sure the visual memories I have downloaded in my brain are at the core. These memories have shaped my sense of togetherness, as much  as my understanding of the duality of “western lifestyle” and the African soul blueprint deeply rooted in indigenous knowledge, wisdom and spirituality.

These memories have shaped my sense of togetherness

One such captivating aspect of African culture is the “Madyoka ma Mboka” or
“The Dance of the Village,” a cultural event deeply ingrained in the diverse ethnic groups of Equatorial Guinea. Traditionally known as “Mekuyo,” it has a rich history that has evolved over the years. With the arrival of the Spaniards in Guinea, the name was changed to “mamarracho,” but its significance in traditional celebrations remained unchanged.

“Mekuyo” are often invited to partake in events, not only to commemorate special occasions but also to foster unity among the community and preserve our cultural heritage. The venues where these dances take place were deliberately expansive, capable of accommodating the entire community. I remember from my children’s eyes, it was the most fascinating and yet scary event to witness. I couldn’t differentiate the truth from the play. For me that Mekuyo existed for sure! 

Later, I discovered the deep purpose of such traditional dances.  To serve as acts of purification and reconciliation, promoting peace after the resolution of conflicts. The stories  around “Mekuyo” often delve into the mystical and the realm of the unseen. Although I can’t provide a definitive explanation, I believe they represent the concept of invisible powers.

African storytelling has been a pivotal force in shaping my life as I’ve grown up. From the enchanting tales of my early childhood to the powerful narratives that continue to resonate with me today, it’s a force that has profoundly influenced my identity. These stories have transcended generations, bridging cultures and communities to promote inclusivity and a shared sense of heritage. These stories have shaped my understanding of our cultural identity, foster unity among the people of my ethnie and carry forward the wisdom of generations.

In conclusion, the understanding that we are all connected, even if they are many ethnies, the inclusivity these narratives promote is a testament to the enduring cohesiveness among humans and nature in an ever-evolving world.

The Power of African Storytelling

Our personal stories are a powerful tool. It’s why we dedicated an entire panel session to the topic at Bokobokids. That is  why we invited people to explore their own journeys around African culture. In sharing our experiences, we can inspire and activate others.

#BKBStoriesofDiversityMovement #CelebrateDiversity
#InclusionMatters #PreserveAncestralWisdom

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you Bokobokids for the opportunity to share how African storytelling has impacted my interpretation of diversity and inclusion?

  2. Merci pour ce témoignage super intéressant et poignant qui me permets de mieux connaître la Guinée équatoriale.
    Je suis fascinée part la richesse de ce pays. Je ne connaissais pas «  la danse du village «  et je suis émerveillée de découvrir tous ces aspects culturels.

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