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Mapouka! What is it?

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Cover of Flame of Love, A Musical Dance Drama by Oliver Mbamara written for Broadway and Major Theaters





By Oliver Mbamara


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MAPOUKA! WHAT IS IT? An Introduction by Oliver Mbamara and Tsery Tabufor.



   Mapouka is not a recent invention, technique or choreography. Mapouka is a dance that has existed for centuries and for that long, it has been used as a practical means of deciding mates for the young men and women of the community. Marriages built on such choices lasted the entire lives of the parties and the couples never had any need for divorce. 

With the impact of new age media and communication systems, Mapouka has spread to the worlds beyond West Africa and it has become a cherished gift to the world (the open minded ones of course). Mapouka has become a world phenomenon. Since the introduction of Makossa (Soukous), no other dance has thrilled the world like Mapouka. You will see it in music videos, on TV, on the streets, in the "boites" (nightclubs), and on the beaches at competitions almost anywhere.

Under the pressure and influence of western civilization, Mapouka is now suffering the unfortunate incident of being analyzed by western standards and preferences, even by those who have neither visited Africa nor seen the cultural relevance and reverence of the dance. Worse still, some Africans have joined some westerners to conclude that Mapouka is too exotic. Yet, we know as a fact that Mapouka does not equal the wild characteristics of most western dances. Some of us still wonder why American girls are allowed to shake their natural assets in western music and dance videos including hip-pop music videos, while Mapouka (a cultural dance) is criticized and suppressed as too exotic. 

Mapouka is in no way close to the activities of raunchy girls and dance steps seen in some American and European home videos and strip clubs, yet many Africans are shy to identify with such an exciting and invigorating African Dance. Brothers and sisters, are you being deceived or simply allowing yourselves to be brainwashed? Please watch your perceptions and your beliefs. Have you become too westernized or too far away drawn from the appreciation of your culture, the African culture?

Perhaps, the intention of the dance is to positively mesmerize the audience with those rare tricks that only an African Ndombolo can do. At the end, everyone is happy and warm. As to how well this dance can help brothers decide on a potential mate, ask those who now enjoy relationships started by decisions based on Mapoukaristic impressions and satisfaction.

We love Mapouka! We are proud of it! Come join us and have fun, the African way!

STORY BY Oliver Mbamara and Tsery Tabufor


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