Spoken Word contest: Reflections on colonial past and reclamation of Africa’s heritage



1. Background

As Africa rises above all challenges to take her position in global affairs, there is an increasing awareness of ‘African renaissance’. As Sylvie Njobati puts it, “African renaissance to me is understanding and galvanizing the full potentials of Africa, and being equipped with the right information that inspire us to push for reforms starting with the understanding of, and reconnection with self – identity and spirituality. Mbeki also refers to the African Renaissance as a “journey of self-discovery and the restoration of our self-esteem.” This journey that once started as resistance to colonization has moved thus far to a journey of reclamation: Taking back not only our cultural heritage looted in colonial times but also our dignity and suppressed glory. From the return of the Benin Bronzes to the expected home coming of Ngonnso, Africa has risen above all systems built to keep it a dark and backward continent .

As we look back to history to celebrate our heroes and stories, we also look forward to a truly informed and free Africa. REGARTLESS formerly known as Sysy House of Fame believes that Confronting the colonial past, experiencing the return of our material and immaterial heritage is the right cause of action for justice and restoration of greatness. We also believe in the power of storytelling in positioning Africa back to greatness.

Spoken word poetry helps us understand and appreciate the world around us, narrowing down a vast knowledge and experiences into unforgettable moments of compact words and emotions. Africa’s spirituality and tradition is enhanced by the power of spoken words. For example, when an object is made by a mere human, power is bestowed unto this object by the power of spoken words and rituals. We strongly believe in the power of spoken words in informing and reinvigorating the African belief system of greatness .

We are calling on spoken word artists in Cameroon to share with us powerful works around the context of #AfricaHasRisen. We are looking for thought provoking pieces, inspirational stories and don’t shy away from going personal.

2. Themes
Identity (Who am i?)

History (Feel free to explore the twisted narratives built around our history, attempts to rewrite our history, unsung historical heroes)
Reclaiming Africa’s heritage.

Decolonisation: How can we decolonize mindsets, public spaces etc
If there was no colonization (imagine and share with us a depiction of Africa without colonization)

3. Methodology

  • Participants will submit a written spoken word written/max 2 minutes video piece on one of the themes presented above: 2500 – 3000 words
  • Participants will share a video of their written spoken word piece and a short video excerpt to us. A panel of Jury will evaluate and select 10 top artists. Then their work shall be uploaded on our social media platforms for interaction with, and appreciation by the public: 
  • The top 5 selected participants will have the opportunity to perform at top notch Art event in Yaounde.
  • In addition, the top three will be rewarded cash prizes: 

1st place – 150,000FCFA

2nd place – 100,000FCFA

3rd place – 50,000FCFA

  • We will hold Q&A session where interested candidates can ask questions.
  • Submissions are open from Thursday 15th September 2022 to Thursday 5th October 2022.

4. Criteria for judging:

1- Relevance to the theme – 35%

2- Creativity/Style and Originality – 20%

3- Coherence of form and structure (harmony of words, expression and overall presentation) – 20%

4- Clarity of video, imagery, word limit, descriptive and audible language – 10%

5- Social media interactions and appreciation – 15%

TOTAL – 100%

5. Submission.

Please submit your incredible works by email to info@sysyhouseoffame.org.

Subject of the message should be “Spoken Word Contest – your name”.

Please submit the following: 

  • PDF of your spoken word text.
  • Short video of an excerpt of the most important or interesting part of your spoken words text looking straight into the camera without any introduction – Not more than 2 minutes. Place your camera or phone in landscape mode. Please feel free to upload on Wetransfer or google drive and share the links with us in the email.
  • A professional photo of yourself.
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