Talking to a group of students from the Southern area of West Africa
I) The Birth of My Dream
You yourselves believe that school is a way to liberate you from African life. But for me, school was a source of enrichment in order to live my African life better. In declining the jobs which I was offered in Paris, London or Lomé I was making a genuine commitment to revive the rural culture of my country which made people happy. Personally, I don’t know if you can speak about returning in the way you are. No. For the whole of my life, from the primary school to university, I have been bound to the activities that were core to my chidhood. It is agriculture which has become my life. I chose the village I was born in, with its very poor soil, because it had kneaded its traditions into me.
II) The Reasons of this Rootedness
What good can come from a commitment to a cause if one is far faway from that cause? You yourselves are studying and you want to one day solve Africa’s problems from distant lands. You have yours eyes set on rich places which will make you rich.
Our approach was different.It is what I call authentique; it is signing up for an adventure for human life and for nature and not in search of money. With Tiyeda, my wife, I threw myself into the fight for the ascent of humankind.
III) My Faith
You have to dream, you must believe in yourself, in humankind. You have to study to put yourself in service to humankind, to the creation of a world of solidarity. Our Africa remains the virgin continent which lends its space to your dreams, to your creative spirits now that the European world of your dreams no longer exists. My belief for you, and her’s too, is that those who look at their own problems have a greater chance of finding a solution. For the 30 years of my commitment, I have had an intuition, which I want to share with you, that there are treasures hidden in our African soil which can only be found by me, the heir. Through slow and patient work, I have transformed poverty into riches. I know that you can do it, too.
The mission of all intellectuels Africans is to be leaven for the rising of human and environmental dough.
I believe that the sun of African wellbeing will rise when young Africans intelectuals take on the African bush after us. Don t look to material ways but to your bare hands, like us, and dare. My faith for you is that if you dare to bet on the future, you will lay the best foundations for a better tomorrow.
IV) Difficulties and Supports
In Africans villages, there are difficulties, deficiencies, obstacles and misunderstandings. But my wife and I do not feel alone. I would like bear testimony to the friendship, the sympathy of so many men and women that we experience every day, that lead us to affirm that a man is never alone, that a man is never weak when he dares to mix his energy into the vast ocean of human energies. It’s what keeps us going in this work of solidarity.
We cannot not share our riches with you.
We stand before you after an experiment of 30 years with full hands, in order to share and to light in your heart the hope of living, one day, as a free and happy man in a fertile environment.
More information: http://www.thedancingforest.com/
“International development agencies, along with western and African governments should take note of this film: there are many lessons to be learned from it.”
– Becky Hawketts, Cambridge Film Festival Daily