Africa the Art and life on the continent

A few days ago I spoke to my dear friend native from Congo now residing in South Africa as a refugee. (He had to flee from the horrors of the war in his country in 1995.

I posed the question: Why can't the Congolese people resolve political conflict through dialogue instead of waging war for decades?

He replied: Our people are so poor; least we can afford arms and ammunition. The United Nations placed a ban on arms coming into our country, yet on a daily basis new arms coming from foreign countries including the west are used to kill our people.

No one will ever know who are behind the supply of arms. Some Individuals/groups (foreigners) claim they are "protecting their interest" in the region. In the meantime my people are dying like flies. How can the rest of the world sit, watch and do nothing?

It seems that quite a few small groups or individuals from other parts of the world are fuelling the war to destabilize the region. I wish that God never blessed our beloved country with an abundance of oil and minerals.......maybe then we would still be living in peace, and I would have been at home with my family and all the loved ones I forcibly left behind.

In Liberia home of the famous Dan tribe, the villagers and artist alike have to work whilst gun battles rage on their doorstep. I had the opportunity of watching on local television a documentary of boy soldiers and young men fighting to liberate their people. The documentary covered the daily lives of the village people. 

One specific incident that will remain with me forever is the footage of the so-called "rebels" that captured one of the enemy forces recruited in Sierra Leone. He was gunned down after his capture, and with-in seconds his body turned a grayish color. The "rebels" cut out his heart and roasted it over a fire, each of them including the boy soldiers ate a piece of the victims roasted heart. They believed that eating the heart of the enemy would provide them with new strength and long life to defend their cause.

When I view and hold these fine pieces of art in my hand, it feels that at any moment tears will stream from the eyes of the mask or figure......each piece therefore has a special place in my heart. An expression of true art and sheer brilliance, especially if one consider the appalling conditions under which the artist have to work.

Here in Africa idle hands lead men to war. Occupy the mind and dormant talent will ooze through the creative mind and hands of the people.

For the past few months the South African government is acting as chief negotiator in a peace settlement in the region, everybody seems to be optimistic that peace will prevail.

Also read

bulletWar in Africa
bulletIntroduction to African Art
bulletRock Art Paintings
bulletThe history of the African mask
bulletMask catalog
bulletAfrican art painting


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