Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines
Africa on the move
Accompanied only by a kora player, a man uses the power of language to address the entire continent of Africa, displaying the dignity, benevolence and strength that radical revelations bring about. His speech reverberates like thunder with the youth of every African nation. With great fervour, he calls on each and every one to raise their heads and emancipate themselves, so that they can become the origin and driving force of a more humane future civilisation for the entire planet.
Traces is the galvanizing result of a meeting between two great minds of contemporary Africa: the visionary Senegalese economist and philosopher Felwine Sarr, and the eminent Burkinabe theatre artist Étienne Minoungou. Together, drawing upon History, the memory of peoples and intellectual integrity, they imagine the theatre as a space for prophecies and for sharing, where the world can literally be remade.
Produced by Théâtre de Namur
Written by Felwine Sarr
Directed by Étienne Minoungou
Performed by Étienne Minoungou + Simon Winsé
Outside Eye Aristide Tarnagda
Lighting Design Rémy Brans
Live Music Simon Winsé
Excutive Producer and Touring La Charge du Rhinocéros
Stage Manager Gaël Genette
Surtitles operation Karine Doucet Larouche
Co-produced by Festival Les Récréâtrales (Ouagadougou)
With the support of Fondation Von-Brochowski-Sud-Nord (Berlin) + Institut Français (Paris)
Presented in association with Maison Théâtre with the support of Wallonie-Bruxelles International
Premiered at Musée des Civilisations noires, Dakar, on December 5, 2018
Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines is published by Éditions Actes Sud
North American première
Written by Paul Lefebvre
Translated by Jeff Moore
About the artists
Felwine Sarr (Niodior)
The Senegalese economist, philosopher, writer, musician and playwright Felwine Sarr questions the existing political and economic models, convinced that the African continent can be the driving force behind a planetary renewal—provided that it completes its decolonization and proposes a new project for civilization.
His numerous books include Afrotopia (Philippe Rey, 2016) and Habiter le monde (Mémoire d’encrier, 2017), and most recently Les lieux qu’habitent mes rêves (Gallimard, 2022). In 2016, he and Achille Mbembé created the Ateliers de la pensée, bringing together thinkers, writers and academics from Africa and the diaspora in Dakar and Saint-Louis to reflect upon the transformations of the contemporary world. With Bénédicte Savoy, he wrote the ground-breaking report Restituer le patrimoine africain (2018) at the request of the French Presidency. Since 2020, Felwine Sarr has taught contemporary and diasporic African philosophy at Duke University (North Carolina). In 2021, he was included in Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people of the year.
Étienne Minoungou (Brussels + Ouagadougou)
Originally from Burkina Faso, the actor, director and artistic director Étienne Minoungou studied sociology and theatre before founding the Récréâtrales in Ouagadougou in 2002, a pan-African space for writing, creation, research and theatrical dissemination.
The biennial festival of the same name quickly became one of the most important theatre events in French-speaking Africa. Starting in 2014, his acting career took flight in Africa and Europe with Dieudonné́ Niangouna’s M’appelle Mohamed Ali and Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. These two solos were followed by another in 2017: Si nous voulons vivre, a collage of chronicles and interviews by Sony Labou Tansi. Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines was created in 2018 for the inauguration of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar.