#IYAGriotNights: Episode Two #Poetry #Events #Buea #Cameroon

https://soundcloud.com/tchassakamga/is-spoken-word-for-you

“Poetry is for the bourgeoisie”; “Poetry is for the literary elite”; “Poetry is like wine, you need to be either a lover of the craft or an expert to enjoy it”.

That must have been what was going through the minds in the audience of the very first #IYAGriotNight. On that 12th of December, 2016, the few curious individuals who settled at the lounge didn’t know what to expect. A majority had never seen a live Spoken Word Poetry event before. Many were students of the University and as well as Silicon Mountain enthusiasts. For others, this was an initial visit to the erstwhile Alliance Franco Camerounaise. In its stead, “IYA: Food and Culture”.

“IYA” means “mother” in many Bantu languages.

“[IYA] is a canvas upon which the community is called to create. What you see now was once a dream in our minds. It represents the love our mothers, our IYAs had for us. In Africa, we don’t have a culture of mothers saying “I love you”. They show this love through meals; through the incredibly rich recipes handed from one generation to the next. That is what the “Food” part of IYA represents. But what many haven’t seen yet, which our communal ethos is built on, is the “Culture”. We have a huge repertoire of collective Arts that the world is dying to discover. The IYA Griot Nights is one more step in this direction.”

The IYA Griot Nights is a monthly event whose sole purpose is to remind us where we’re from. A griot is a professional oral historian. Our grandmothers were griots- they told stories of war, of love, of the stubborn child or the greedy king. Stories of “sense pass king”.

Leslie Meya “Kibelle”

Poetry is just one form of oral expression. It is one of the most beautiful tools of storytelling. Spoken Word Poetry needs the artist to perform his/her poem. This makes it not only entertaining but especially important in conveying emotions to the viewers.

The Cameroonian spoken word scene has birthed global sensation like Stone Karim Mohamad. In Yaoundé, the Goethe Institute has hosted events and competitions that has seen world class performances. However, the impact of the Spoken Word Movement hasn’t reached this part of the country yet. But this is changing.

World class Spoken Word Performers include: Erykah Badu, Grand Corps Malade, Soul Williams and Souleyman Diamanka

During this first event, the audience was so inspired that a few had their own pieces read on the spot. Simo Jandie gave us a witty and humorous reading of his piece from his Facebook post titled: “My Power Bank”.

That evening, the photographer and media personality- Tito Valery, who happens to be a Spoken Word artist, shared a lot with the audience. He said when he heard about the event, he swore he would travel from Yaoundé to attend it. And he did.

Tito Valery

Nine performers took to the stage: Monique Kwachou, Njoka Mavin, Leslie Meya, Malcolm Koh, Orlyne Passy Nopoudem (duet with me), Nzonda Kenneth and Erwin Ayota. Halfway during the performance, members of the audience opted, on the spot, to perform pieces of their own.

Nzondah Kenneth
Njoka Mavin
Koh Malcolm

It was an emotionally laden event that ended with the audience looking forward to the next #IYAGriotNight.

Poets prepare your quills, viewers prepare your minds. A date has been set, the venue is maintained and the menu rich with emotions galore!

Pin your calendars! Saturday, 28th of February, 2016, we welcome you once more to the gust of Zeitgeist that IYA is blowing on the cultural scene of the nation. This time around, two critical conditions.

1. Poets: No papers on stage. http://bit.ly/02griotpoets

2. Audience: No ticket= no entry. http://bit.ly/02GriotAudience

The IYA Griot Night will always be free. You just need to grab a ticket from Eventbrite. This ticket grants you a seat and a drink.

New rule: poets send video versions of your performance by Tuesday, the 17th of January.

There are no themes, all we need is: you, your story and your emotions. Follow this link for to fill the submission form.

There would be a Spoken Word Poetry Know/Share session at IYA to teach the intricacies of Spoken Word performance. These would be 2–3 hour sessions facilitated by the Spoken Word Curator during which skills and techniques for better Spoken Word Performances would be exhibited real time.

In order to be part of the audience, follow this link to secure your seat: http://bit.ly/02GriotAudience

Come and watch history being made, again.

L-R: Tchassa Kamga and Orlyne Passy Nopoudem

Organiser of IYA Griot Nights: IYA BUEA
Facebook iyabuea Twitter@iya_buea
Nestled afoot Mount Cameroon in a colonial build that once house the French consulate, IYA is home to a world-class restaurant, cocktail lounge, literary café and creative spaces.
IYA, a one of a kind gastronomic experience, pays homage to Cameroon’s rich and diverse culinary and cultural heritage, balancing traditional elements and modernity in a multipurpose space. Check our website — 
www.iyabuea.com — for more information and do not hesitate to get in touch with us. It’s always a pleasure.

My first ever #spoken word trial is on SoundCloud!

 

1-zi9bczftg5cojqxhgstq6qWhen I read this text in March, I felt like I had to give it life. Even if I didn’t have the technical skills required, I couldn’t help it.
And even when I did, I let it sit in my computer for all this while, gathering digital dust. I feel the time has come for me to let the world know what I can do and to judge me for it.

This is just the beginning. I would love to get your feedback and suggestions.

It is in French. But do not worry, I have another one prepared in English- a text another wonderful Ghanaian blogger wrote.

They are the words of a mother, saying goodbye to her child. Probably because she ( the mother) will be taken away because of the war.

According to the author of this text, it is the image you see that prompted her to write that piece. That she felt connected to the baby.

Credits:
Text: Anne Marie Befoune ( www.twitter.com/befoune) Tu Ne Te Souviendra pas…click to read.
Background Audio: Phenakist – Wasting-my-young-years_instrumental

If You’re Broke, It’s Your Fault (and other thoughts for young Cameroonians)

I’m one of you. I see it every day. I hear various forms of it. But it’s the same thing: excuses. Why you don’t have a job, why you don’t have money, how school is taking all your time, or how you want to have better grades.

I get it: we all have different scales of preference. We were born to different families, at different times, brought up differently etc. Your values, dreams and goals are shaped not solely by the environment in which you grew up, but by your DNA as well. Literally: you could have some of your parents’ predilections and this could affect your life in tremendous ways.

Nature vs Nurture.

What I have a problem with is when some of these declarations stop being what they are: EXCUSES and become a crippling way to accept the status quo of whatever situation you are in: REASONS.

I have complained. How if I had had the courage earlier to tell my parents I didn’t want to study Biochemistry I would have begun a career I love faster. Or how If only I can make time to write every day since I figured out I loved writing, I should have had books by now. Or how the reason why I am single is because I am tired of the emotional involvement that comes with being in a committed relationship.

Some of these are good reasons. Being self-aware of my own limitations has brought me closer to positioning myself to succeed instead of fighting battles I would eventually lose. Maybe I am just not persistent enough to address my weaknesses. But I’d prefer to stop having excuses to hinder my financial, professional, emotional and spiritual success that to transform those excuses into reasons.

Think about it. You’re in the University. Your parents paid your rents. You get an allowance (it doesn’t matter how small it is). You are young.

Now, if you are even able to GET INTO the university, in my not so humble opinion, you’re smart! You’ve got something. You can do something! Anything! That alone for me, is enough to tell you to shut the hell up when you want to start giving an excuse as to why you can’t make money or why you don’t have enough time , or even in the future — why you don’t have a job.

I spent 7 years in the University to get a first degree after switching degree programmes twice. So, I know a thing or two about failure, disappointment, self-doubt, and laziness. So, trust me when I tell you this:

If you’re a student in the University in Cameroon, and you’re broke (meaning you don’t have money to do whatever you want that is reasonably important for your well-being (I don’t mean buy a bloody car), then it’s your fault.

You caused this. You want this. Own it.

Why? Because the internet.

You have a physical location to stay. Maybe you’ll tell me you live in an uncomfortable environment. Or that the cousin with whom you live is a weirdo. Or that you live far from school. Bullshit. You have a place to sleep. In a University town. That’s like winning the urban lottery.

You have food to eat. If you’re reading this, you have internet. If you can PAY for internet, I don’t think you would sacrifice feeding to get online. Although that would not surprise me #lookenoughandyouwillalwaysfindanexcuse

Click Here To Cast Your Vote and Get a Ticket

The internet provides every single person with a platform that has no geographical boundaries. You can tell your story in whatever format you want-text, audio or video. You can share on all social media platforms (which are essentially free). You can even make a living by complaining about companies online to the point where they call you to fix your problem, and get you to attend an invite only event. If you’re as astute as Churchill Mambe, you don’t even need a degree to create one of Africa’s most talked about platforms- Njorku.

The idea that not everyone can write is plain stupid. I’ve always been vitriolic about this issue and I don’t think I’ll be changing my stance anytime soon. Everyone (unless you didn’t go to school, which is a valid reason) can write. What most people mean when they say this is that NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A GREAT WRITER, or write a moving piece, or something of the sort. And I don’t still quite agree.

Everyone has a unique set of experiences, perspectives and DNA. That’s the beauty of humanity- the diversity. Unfortunately, a lot of it plays against us. But it doesn’t have to. I enjoy having conversations with people with strong opinions- especially when these people have strong arguments to back them up.

I don’t mind being wrong- you just have to be able to prove it.

If you chose to tell your story through writing, you could win. If you chose to start a podcast (like my incomplete experiment here…) you could win, if you chose to make videos even in Cameroon, you could win.

The reason why we’re young, broke and pissed-off university students ( and graduates) is simple: we don’t want to work hard. And we are not patient. We don’t heed to advice. We don’t seek mentors.

There is no overnight success. There is no one hit wonder. Even Justin Bieber’s Mum had to upload videos of him before Usher noticed. It takes time. Lots of it. And as young people, that’s really all we have. Time to learn. To make mistakes. To absorb knowledge from books, mentors, experiences. Time to plan for the long term while keeping the short term in check.

I believe that the next 5 years are going to be critical for the economy of this nation. I also believe that those who shed their excuses, find reasons, work on their strengths, are patient, work hard and aren’t afraid to be themselves will be the ones to win.

To win, we need to play the long game.

Stop watching football matches all day long. Stop watching the Kardashians. Heck, I don’t have a TV. Then again, that’s me. I know what I want. If you’re okay with all that, and you’re not complaining, that’s awesome! You do you boo boo.

I invest my time in activities that would benefit me the long term. Take the Hadron Networking Event for example.

Visit Site

Speaking with the CEO yesterday, he raised the same issue I have been thinking about:

Why do technology startups remain startups and not become actual companies? 

That’s the bubble around the Cameroonian technology ecosystem. There are too many startups. Too many ideas leave from 0 to 1 (not the Peter Thiel type) and stay there. What’s the problem? How can this change?

Surely, we’ve not had the funds required to scale. Between the environment that is not yet ready or the lack of Angel Investors who believe in the dream, I don’t know which is worse.

The team at Hadron believes every company is a technology company. That the way things are done need to change if we want to move the needle further.

Personally, I believe every company is first a MEDIA company. But that is another story.

There is talent in this country. Lots of it. You may say that not everyone has access to the internet. But I leave you with only one question:

You, with access to the internet, with access to learning material, platforms to work from home, a window to tell your story to the whole world, to build a following and sell products , to run a blog/vlog and make money from it…what have you done with your internet access?

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Call To Action

Get your ticket to the Hadron Networking Event on the 15th December here. Visit the website to read more. I believe in them.

Website- Hadron SA
Facebook- Like The Page
Twitter- Hadron LLC
Event Page- Facebook Event
Tickets- See you there


Hi, I’m Tchassa Kamga. I’m passionate about writing, technology, social media, entrepreneurship and self-improvement. I offer social media, copywriting and copyediting services. You can reach me via Twitter and/or Facebook. On Instagram, I let my imagination travel on the pictures I take. And on Snapchat, I pretend to be famous.

If you read this, my erstwhile love…

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I found joy in the silence of your kiss-the one you took away.
I found peace in your touch-the one I won’t miss.

I searched my memory for the agony of my loss-your loss.
When our song came on SoundCloud, it spoke fondly to the rivers of my eyes.
I talk to myself now. Just like I used to before you came.
The song is no longer sad, I must admit. You were a fond color.

A hue of sorts.
A friend…of sorts.
My friend.

Were you?
Were you mine?
Were you my friend?

I no longer call. But you stopped first-my loss.
I know I wasn’t wrong this time, you were- our loss?

There is desire in the sheets we shared.
No. Not for you.

A longing…of sorts.
Sometimes I squeeze.
Sometimes I wash.

Last night, I made love to myself: A cup of milk, a movie, a laugh alone.
It featured our favorite actor- I won’t hate him.
I tried. But I like him more than I loved you.

Did you?
Did you love?
Did you love me?

I look forward to never seeing you again.
I might smile when I do. Do not be alarmed, it’s my evil plan.

I would hatch a scheme to watch you crawl.
Seize your light and make you fall.

I do not hate you.
Hate is soft.
Hate is weak.
Hate is handicap.

You disgust me.

I will not forget you.
Or your bedroom hymns.

I will not forget the promises I made the day we met.
Nor the rage you left when you sent that text.
I will not forget you, my erstwhile soul mate.
And you should not forget that I loved you.
That I knew your soul and your desires.
The goals you craved and the prize you deserved.

I will not forget the reasons why you smiled.
Or how you blinked when embarrassed behind those balls of wonder I loved to kiss.
Yes, those…I will miss.
Yes, you’re right. I won’t miss.

If you read this, my erstwhile love, I will like to thank you for bringing me closer to myself.
For teaching me what I cannot stand and the desires I cannot condone.

I must thank you for letting me try to be human.
It’s a hard job. One I love taking weekends off for.
Remember: I meant every kiss.
And on this letter, I mean every hiss.

For your own good, let’s never meet again.
You might not recognize the monster you trained.

Blood and Bruises

He ground to a halt.

‘What did you say?’

He’d heard what I said. Even as he turned to look at me in the eyes, I saw his chest rise differently. He said it again. Closing the steps between us. By the time he said ‘say’, I knew about the cabbages he’d eaten for breakfast.

He said you were the youngest in class. And because of that, your opinion didn’t matter. ‘

There was no use mincing the truth. I knew my brother too well. He may have been younger, but I’d fallen victim to his particularly athletic gift one time too many.
And I know better than to coat the chip on his shoulder.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He was hot. We all were. The classic leitmotif before Yaoundé’s mocking rains.

What did you tell him? ‘
‘What?’
‘You heard me, big brother. What did you tell him? ‘

He wasn’t looking at my face the first time he asked. But he did again, leaning on the balcony, his back to the city. He was calm. Too calm. I had a feeling he was enjoying this interrogation. He knew I couldn’t escape. His smirk betrayed him.
Then again, knowing who he was, he must have realized there was more to my account. That I wanted to share something he’d enjoy. He was right.

‘How do you think I bruised my knuckles? ‘

His grin, priceless.

—————–
Did you like? Then you might want to head to my Instagram. I take pictures using the LG G4 I got from my buddy Daniel’s startup. Not only does he give amazing advice when it comes to mobile devices, but he’s the most honest technician I know. Disclaimer: I run his Facebook Page.

So…where was I…

Yes! I take pictures and I write very short stories based on them. I intend to make a picture story book out of them or maybe develop some of the stories into a collection. What do you think?

Send me Tweet, picture or a snap!

 

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Daniel- the smartphone genius at work.

One is Greater Than Zero

I can’t stop thinking about the implication of this statement and how much it is shaping my thought process

When I started posting online, I’d  panic as soon as I don’t get many comments or likes or shares. It still happens to me sometimes.

When my tweet gets ignored, it feels like a rejection letter from my dream publishing house.

Now, it no longer feels that way. Well… not as much.

I have understood that “one is greater than zero”.

In the video below Gary Vee  explains why he takes all kinds of interviews. Even the ones that seem to be a waste of time ( and money). He explains how important it is to always say yes to the small opportunities to make an impact.

That’s who he is.  I can’t hustle like he does. If you can do that, kudos to you!

But what I can do ( and what I do now) is realize that even if I get only one like, one share, one Retweet, one reply…that it matters.

That if one person thinks that what I wrote/said/shared was worthy of his or her time, then I have won. Then my plan succeeded.

That is why I reply to every comment, every DM, every email and every message.

Of course,I am human and I may have all this gung ho now but eventually miss my mark. But that won’t stop me from trying.

Everyone matters.  It’s similar to the popular spiel in the entrepreneurship world about shares in a company before it is formed:

1% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

One is greater than zero.

That’s how I intend to build my community. I can’t wait to be “internet famous” whatever that means to start caring about the people who care about me.

That’s why I’m back here. And why I am focusing on creating maximum value for people like you. ( Did I tell you I was working on a book?) That is why one of our key strategies when we started our Medium publication was to NOT invite our friends to LIKE the page.

You can check it out. We have less than 200 likes on the Facebook page. But our following keeps growing.

I believe that such organic growth is preferable to “forced growth”. Getting people to like a page just because.  That’s not the way I want to be remembered.

I may be desperate for your love *wink* but I want you to love me because you love me. Not because I asked you to.

One is greater than zero. One view. One tweet. One share.

That’s all I need to keep me going.

What do you need? What keeps you going? Please, let me know in the comments section.

And don’t forget to add me on Snapchat!

snap

Why I’ve Not Been On WordPress all this while.

Incidentally, it is also why you’d be seeing more of me hence.
You see, I have fallen deeply, deeply in love with Medium. For the past three months or so, I have put all my creative energy into it. Soaking amazing content and writing a lot.

What is Medium you ask?  This quote from The Atlantic sums it all:

“So what is Medium? Medium is a place to read articles on the Internet. Medium is a blogging platform, like WordPress or Blogger. Medium is the new project from the guys who brought you Twitter. Medium is chaotically, arrhythmically produced by a combination of top-notch editors, paid writers, PR flacks, startup bros, and hacks”. Read the article here.

In my love for this new platform, and like my mother would say, I saw Christmas and forgot Sunday.

I forgot my family- you.

You are the reason why I have been able to blog for the past fours years. I started this blog with nothing but an idea( and internet access, and the computer my cousin gave me ( thank you Aunty Tie!)) and I had no idea where this was all going.

It was 2012. I had just made it into a degree programme I loved and I heard of this thing called a blog. Truth be told, this is not my first blog. But this is the only one I have been consistent on.

I have so many blog ideas in my idea grave. I call it…wait for it…the idea grave! Lame huh? I know.

Now I have more than 197 subscribers!! 197 people thought that they would want to keep getting my work!!! 924 people liked my Facebook page!

AWESOME!

The reason why I keep writing is because you’ve been reading and commenting. I got the courage to open an Instagram account where I started this picture story thing that got some attention.

Then, in my usual Kamga style, I slacked off. Then I came back…and slacked off again. But I am back now. 🙂

Then I started a Masters at the University. English Language. Yeaup. Who does that? Who spends his days perusing Theories of First Language Acquisition?
Well, I do now. And to be honest, it’s fun.

Handling school, writing on medium, (as well as some projects I haven’t told you about) …all these things haven’t exactly been peachy.

But I know I can do better. You deserve better.
Which is why I will do all in my power to keep writing here.

I wish I could just copy what I write on Medium and paste here. But that would be super lazy and unfair. And I cannot ask you to move to medium as well now can I? That would be rude.

I am mean. Not rude. So, this is what we’ll do:

First, if you want to catch-up with what I’ve been doing, I started a publication with my very good friend Anne Marie Befoune. She’s a terrific blogger and incredible writer. She’s also my best friend. She lives in Senegal. And we’ve never actually met. How cool is the internet?! I knooow!

Together we do our best to post every single day on the platform. We have three themes- self improvement, content creation and human relationships. So, it is a lot of my regular spiel about how I get back from feelings of sadness, how I create content and my love life the relationships in my life.

If you don’t have a Medium account, don’t worry. You can sign in with Facebook or Twitter.

On Medium, you can ‘follow’ publications. So, if you want to follow ours, click here. It will take you straight to the page. Anne Marie writes in French and English. If you love my writing, I believe you will love her too.

I know I do.

We also have a Facebook page where we put links to the articles we write. I strongly suggest you follow the page on Medium though. You get to receive letters with shpeshial content.

We have plans for Self-ish. Plans you’ll love. hehehe

But! Back to why we’re here.

I have written on Medium ( ugh, I know…stop rolling your eyes) about my mentors. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of them. I have consumed his content so much I may have acquired  a lot of his idiosyncrasies.

Why do I bring this iconic American hustler to my apology for dumping my WordPress Family for Medium?

Because 1>0. One is greater than zero. I got that from Gary.

Because you have been with me for all these years, sending me words of encouragement, reading my posts, commenting, sharing.

Because I met incredible people on this platform that I cannot neglect.

It is because of you that I have been able to do a lot of what I am doing now.

So…SECOND! You are my family. And if that means working a little harder and smarter to make sure you get to read me here as well, then I will do that.

Thank you.

If you’re on Snapchat, hit me up let’s chat. I’m doubling down there too. Even though I get weirdly super shy sometimes. My username is @tchassakamga. Or you can just open your app, point your camera to the code below, hold you finger on  my teeth my picture and wait for your device to scan the code.

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I must tell you, a lot has happened. Hint: I am writing a book.

It feels great to be back. I know it’s going to be hard. Like coming back home after studying abroad. It’s been an interesting couple of months.

Thank you for your patience. It will be worth it.

Forever yours, Tchassa Kamga.

P.S: Ask me any questions on my Ask.fm. I would gladly answer.

P.P.S: Here ( in no particular order) is  a list of my personal top five posts on medium. Don’t forget to recommend the ones you read!

  1. Dear Marketer, this is why I write.
  2. You’ll never be ready.
  3. Five lessons from my selfishness.
  4. Scrawny kid and pretty mouth. ( You should start with this one!!)
  5. How should you feel after a near death experience?

How He Killed Affection

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Let him tell you of heartbreaks. Of tears he hid and dreams he killed. Of the memories he replayed long after the kisses died. Let him tell you of rejection. Of unrequited love. Of emotions suppressed and denials endured. He could tell you of the time when she said: “This is not working out.” Or of when she needed space to think. He will tell you with a smile. While you hold your throaty lump tight. He will tell you the blouse she wore and the dog that strayed. He might tell you of the date. If you’re not lucky enough, he may only remember the hour and the minute.

Let him tell you of failures of the heart. Of the laughs he faked and the lies he told himself. Of the persona he forged and the mechanisms he acquired. He may tell you of the letter he wrote…and burned. He may tell you of the unsent SMS, or the cancelled voice note. He could recount the old pillows that saved his teary tale in cold, liquid embrace. He will tell you of the body weight he hasn’t been able to gain. Of his incessant penchant for jokes and laughter, of his book drug abuse and his writing exorcism.

He may mention his new resolve. His understanding of love and the day he killed affection. He could paint the clouds, but he won’t. He could tell you about the song on Trace at that moment, but he won’t. He could tell you of the matching shoes she wore and of the speech she had prepared. Yes, the speech, he will. He will tell you how at that time it made no sense to him. How he laughed with his boys and texted the next available glass heart. He will not tell you of the supper he left cold. Of the desires he left enflaming. Of the rage he carried, chiefly against fiction, for making him believe in soulmates.

Let him tell you of the decision he took. Of the vow he made. Of the smile he wore as he said to himself: I’m too old for this shit. As he deleted the pictures and edited his memory- a task he would tell you, was a waste of time, but that “I had to at least try”. He may mention that it was the day he realized he’d changed. The day he saw his own worth. The day he finally admitted to himself that he would never find what his was looking for, simply because he was always looking.
It was the day he said, earnestly, without reserve and believing with his soul: fuck this shit. I’m done.
——-

What a comeback post huh? Did you miss me? 😀

Merci. #Poème

Parce-que la valeur de ton temps m’est précieux.

Parce-que tu m’a donné le sourire quand j’ai fermé mes yeux.

Parce-que avec toi, vivre sur terre se  compare à vivre dans les cieux.

Parce-que notre amitié durera jusqu’à ce qu’on sera des vielles et vieux.

Parce-que sans tes commentaires mon cœur se fait un creux.

Et parce-que le monde entier à besoin de nous pour ce rappeller que oui, nous aussi, on peut s’occuper d’eux.

Cher ami(e), mes meilleures vœux.