Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LOBELA Extensions

Historias, poetas, negras, africana, madre, abuela, traumatithandes........

I'm listening to the cadence of consonants
beyond my ability to decode
feeling peace within soft vowel sounds
past organic boundaries of comprehension
because there is no threat
of my being misunderstood
in this place

Justo Bolekia Boleka has come from Salamanca, Spain to Guelph with the soft songs of his Bubi people of Equatorial Guinea to tell us a story of songs, poetry, culture and cultures, connecting and interacting with dissonance and assonance and sometimes (we hope), in harmony. He speaks Spanish to Dorothy Odartey-Wellington's third year Spanish literature class, which on this day has attracted Hispanics and Spanish speakers from as far as Toronto and London, Ontario, to hear of the little known, one and only former Spanish colony of Africa, which has been influenced at various times by the French, the British and the Portuguese... an amazing amount of colonial activity for a country of 500,000 people living on the main land and several islands.

Of course I did not understand Justo, as I speak no Spanish but did still enjoy the sounds of the Spanish language and his gestures and expressions, and his very occassional forays into English and French. I had the pleasure of chatting with him before and after and the event and do believe I have some insight into this lecturer's philosophy and persuasion. One had only to listen to his songs, to feel compelled to enter his world, where the Bubi live, striving for victory against a past and a present filled with variations of dissonance!

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