I can’t wait for the African movie festival to start this Thursay, 5th of November. The programm is great and I am looking forward to meeting some of the directors. The venue of this event is Studio-Kino Hamburg (Bernstorffstrasse 93-95, Hamburg). Entry to all films will be max. 8 Euros. Click here for the whole programme.
Audrey Gallet’s movie “Boy Saloum: La Révolte des Y’en a Marre” will be screened on Friday, 6th of November at Studio-Kino Hamburg. It is a movie about the movement “Y’en a Marre” that took place in Senegal (West Africa) where thousands of rappers came together to stand up for their rights. Hip-hop, new media technology, globalization and youth energy and idealism inspired the movement Y’en a Marre.
We caught up with Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré better known by his stage name, Thiat, which he uses to lead one of the nation’s most popular hip-hop groups, Keur Gui. Over email we talked about the idea of Y’en a Marre, the obstacles while documenting the movie and about his time in prison.
In my mind am ready to die if it is necessary for my people.
Interview with Thiat
Frolicious: The Movement Y’en a Marre (We’re Fed Up/Enough is Enough) started in January 2011 in Dakar (Senegal). Could you please give us a short background introduction of each founder. What were you doing before the movement?
Thiat: Kilifeu and me are originaly from Kaolack members of the Keur Gui Crew one of the most political band across the continent because of there lyrics talking about the situation in there home town they spend their first time in prison since that they are the first African hip hop band censured and lived a lot of persecution by the different regime in Senegal since 1996 because of that they gained a lot of respect withthat street credibility.
Fadel Barro is a journalist of investigation since 2000. He has released a lot of articles about corruption and scandals of Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade’s regime. Fou Malade has done a lot in the difficult zone of the country also did a lot of social action in prison release the album of ex prisoners organize workshop and program of reinsertion. Simon has done a lot of community work and produced a lot of underground rappers was also engaged socially with his lyrics.
Frolicious: How did the idea come up and what inspired the group to create the movement Y’en a Marre?
Thiat: On January 16th 2011 we where in Fadel’s house as we usually do making tee talking about the things that was going on under a candle’s light and Fadel said: “You should do more then talking about commitment in your tracks and interviews. We all agreed on why not creating something new? But what? We thought it should be a movement but not a political one also not between journalist and rappers but a slogan to crystalize the anger of everybody. We started the brain storming and finally we ended up saying Y’en a Marre. The movement was formed with the founders and also with political activist Denise “Sofia” Sow, Mame Aladji, student at the university, Alioune Sane a journalist and Hamat Seck a young marabout.
We called all the rappers to be part of it coz we wanted to launch the movement with a presse conference on the 18th of January 2011.
Frolicious: Do you remember your first action with the collective of Y’en a Marre?
Thiat: After we launch the movement Y’en a Marre on 18 January 2011 we organized a huge demonstration on 19 March 2011 over 25000 people’s was there.
Frolicious: In connection with the movement Y’en a Marre, you have been arrested several times. What gave you the strength to continue?
Thiat: In my mind am ready to die if it is necessary for my people. That is what commitment mean for me. Being in a prison itself gave me strength coz I was doing the individual suicide for the collective resurrection.
Frolicious: Audrey Gallet started to document the movement Y’en a Marre in 2006. How did the idea of a movie came up?
Thiat: It was in 2005 when she started following Keu Gui. Because the idea was to do a film about us like how different we are in the hip hop scene that is killed by the industry with silly and nonsense lyrics.
Watch Trailer: Boy Saloum – Movement Y’en a Marre
Frolicious: The movie is called Boy Saloum. I have learned that people from the Saloum Kingdom are known for their revolutionary spirit. At the age of 17 you were beaten because of your lyrics in one of your songs.
Thiat: We are born like that. Saloum Saloum is our heritage. We have the responsibility of being engage for life as a legacy.
Frolicious: The trailer of the movie is intense. What were the obstacles while shooting the documentary?
Thiat: There were so many cops, tear gas, police brutality and abuse insecurity. We had to change our phone numbers several times and stay in a friend’s house. Politician hired people to beat us as. Our families were in danger, too. It changed our whole lifestyle.
Frolicious: The movement Y’en a Marre was able to organize protests against the controversial bid by Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade who wanted to become president for the third time although the law said you can only be elected twice. Which role did Sofia Denise Sow plays in the whole movement?
Thiat: Sofia was very important for us although she prefered to stay behind the scenes. She was in charge of our social media sites and internet presence. She regularly uploaded music videos, interviews and video clips showing the arrest of several members. She also posted to Facebook and sent out mass text messages informing the population of protests dates and times.
Frolicious: The movie also shows your aim to create a socially engaged citizen “New Type of Senegalese” (NTS). Could you please explain the idea behind this?
Thiat: The idea is to give up the bad habit like fatalism, passivity and to be more involved and concerned about citizenship. We respect rules and laws however our aim is to have a better society and also pay attention to what politician do. We do want to be manipulated or controlled. In addition to this, we don’t want the community political leaders like mayor deputy be the watch dog of our democratization. We want to have a voice and be involved.
Frolicious: During your movement not everything went peacefully. Looking back is there anything you wished you could have done it differently.
Thiat: I don’t have any regrets for myself but I am sorry for families who lost a person they loved. I feel also sorry for people who got injured during the whole movement. I know that everything wasn’t perfect but at the end of the day the people won some battles. However, unfortunately war is still going on. To end this we have to ride of the system.
Frolicious: Today, what are the founders of the movement Y’en a Marre doing now?
Thiat: Some of them have developed their own projects and they are working on that.
KEURGUI has released a new album called ENCYCLOPEDIA. It was very successful. We sold more than 20.000. We are touring also but we still keeping an eye on Macky Sall‘s regime. The movement still alive. We have a programme and the DOKH AK SA GOKH community work for the NEW TYPE OF SENEGALESE. Politician will come and go but the population will stay for ever only the generation will change. Now it is our turn and responsibility to handle the situation well.
Facebook page movie: www.facebook.com/boysaloumkeurgui
Facebook page movement: www.facebook.com/Y-en-a-marre-173373102703740/
AUGEN BLICKE AFRIKA film series
5th to 15th November 2015 in Hamburg (Germany)