Abidjan’s West Africa Circus Festival Returns as COVID Travel Restrictions Lifted

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At the festival in downtown Abidjan on Wednesday evening, performers did parkour and performed backflips and somersaults, while clowns pulled in members of the audience to participate, to the delight of children and adults alike.

The festival was held last year, but it was much smaller because of the pandemic.

RICA founder Chantal Djedje says COVID-19 made organizing the festival very difficult.

Djedje said, last year, they wanted to keep the festival going, but there were very few companies from the Guinea-Burkina sub-region, and this year the festival has become more colorful because there are nine companies and 57 artists from many different countries.

This year, RICA is hosting acts from Lebhanon, France, Morocco, Guinea, as well as a troupe of acrobats known as Atoufa, from Burkina Faso.

Atoufa’s artistic director, Mahouzou Tanyan, says he faced obstacles becoming a circus performer.

He said it took courage to get involved in circus performance because his parents hate him doing it. Tanyan said, “If I was not here, I would be in the village right now, because they didn’t want me to do this job. But thanks to God, today I have been able to develop my skills to this level.”

Atoufa’s performance reflects the ongoing war in Burkina Faso against armed terrorist groups, said Tanyan.

SourceVOA
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