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With the “Dakar fait sa comedy” festival, Senegal wants to become a “hub” of laughter in Africa

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The event poster.

Samba Kanté thinks big. “The objective is for Dakar to become the hub and meeting place for African humour”, says the producer of the Dakar festival makes his comedy which is held Saturday, May 14 at the grand theater of the Senegalese capital. The third edition of the event, organized after three years of shutdown linked to Covid-19, will see Senegalese comedians, but also French, Ivorian, Congolese or other countries in the sub-region parade, in front of an audience of 1 800 spectators.

“The sketches will be in French, Wolof or Fulani, it will be a real cocktail of humor to represent Africa and speak to everyone”, underlines Samba Kanté. The dream of the producer, based in France and who has notably collaborated with the French humorist Ahmed Sylla, is to shine as far as the United States, and why not attract stars like Eddie Murphy to Dakar. “It is important to develop Senegalese humor which is sometimes a little closed with the local language, Wolof. It must therefore be opened up to the French-speaking and even English-speaking world”he continues.

Find new talent

With Dakar fait sa comedy, Senegal intends to bring itself up to the level of the biggest festivals on the continent such as Abidjan, the capital of laughter in Côte d’Ivoire or the Marrakech of laughter in Morocco. “Senegal has infrastructure that can accommodate a lot of spectators”explains Samba Kanté, who hopes to unearth new talents and offer them the chance to perform on big stages.

Read also: At the Abidjan laughter festival, a desperate Nicolas Sarkozy in search of African advice

This is also the first time that the Senegalese Mame Balla Mbow will participate in an event of this magnitude, with his little brother Baye Saer Mbow, for a sketch of ten minutes. “This is an opportunity to show that we have an international level. And the fact of rubbing shoulders with Ivorian or Congolese artists allows us to improve and give ourselves visibility.explains the 32-year-old comedian, who wrote his texts in Wolof with touches of French, and who divides his daily life between Senegalese series, humorous videos published on social networks and the preparation of his show which will be played in September in Paris.

Cheikh Abdou Doucouré, alias “Singom”, will go up for the second time on the stage of Dakar makes his comedy. “This festival is a reunion and an atmosphere between comedians and brothers from Africa and elsewhere. This allows us to advance our country and the world of humor in Senegalalso wants to believe the 22-year-old comedian and actor who is preparing his show in the greatest secrecy, between stand-up and musical comedy. This gives openings and personal links that can open to new markets. »

Appeal to the State

But the work is still long according to the young man, who calls on the State to stand more alongside the artists, in particular by facilitating their access to the rooms. Mame Balla Mbow also regrets a lack of means for the organization of tours inside Senegal and a lack of support for the formalities – obtaining visas, buying plane tickets – when it comes to going occur outside the country.

Read the report: In the Marrakech of laughter, the weapon of humor to fight against racism

For Samba Kanté, the solution lies in the opening of cultural centers in all the major cities of Senegal in order to be able to organize concerts and shows. Because to reach a better level, you have to be able to train in front of an audience.

“We would like the State to develop the network of cultural centers which could offer stand-up classes and writing workshops, but also to support young talents so that they can take part in festivals in Europe where the diaspora is very present”claims the producer, who one day dreams of opening a café-théâtre in Dakar. “The Senegalese can impose themselves and become big stars, because humor is part of their culture. They go through gestures and expressions to provoke laughter in the spectators.he points out.

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