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AFRICAN VIBRATIONS


" Africa Entrancing,
Africa Beautiful,
Africa Mysterious,
Africa Explosive."

The Cuomo Foundation's New Publication 

A TRIBUTE

A Palette of Colours, the exuberant flowers and plants, a stifling suffocating heat that blurs the vision and transforms exotic shapes, rainbow crowds in perpetual movement, an impassioned impulse for life, a pure pleasure of existence.

The beauty of women, imperious and full of dignity and their little girls with unique decorated hair, mischievous looks, dazzling smiles, making the most from the simple things in life.


Africa Entrancing, Africa Beautiful, Africa Mysterious, Africa Explosive, AFRICAN VIBRATIONS.

AFRICAN MEMORIES...

Democratic Republic of Congo

Preface by Maria Elena Cuomo

Presidente - Cuomo Foundation


I see myself, a light-hearted, inquisitive eager young teenager aboard a military plane preparing to land in the newly appointed capital of Léopoldville (Kinshasa).

First stop in Lagos. Second stop in Accra; spongy heavy red earth, a blinding orange light, a caressing dampness, huge hieratic and motionless birds…

At long last, this is Kinshasa. Never ending boulevards; markets of rainbow hues; exotic fruits and vegetables never seen before; tapioca on every stall; fleshy flowers and plants, almost virile.

For me, a young naïve teenager who had never left her native Italy, the dark looks and broad smiles of women, men and children were almost hostile, too strong to cope with. I was scared! I was awestruck! 

People, always in motion or sat on the ground, drowsy and spellbound by the warmth. Ladies of a disturbing beauty, dressed like queens to my astonished eyes. Me, a fair-haired girl from Rome with a post-war conservative and austere inheritance, marveling at these perspiring majestic bodies of ebony with their headdresses of architectural grandeur!

Everything seemed to me to be in excess; a magical, confusingly overwhelming theatre of the absurd.

Matadi, the jungle, the river, the activity of the port which captivated me.

‘Ringo’, my pet chimpanzee who cycled everywhere, arms tight on my shoulders.

Mbote, hello! 

My grey parrot, Bubi, screeched the alarm each morning and pronounced words with a raspy sound which came from beyond the grave. It would let itself caress docilely and peck immediately as if to revenge for being treated the jester of our playground. Its endless daily repetitions of the popular radio song “Mobuto, Mobuto, 5 years, will stay in power 5 years, 5 years…” remains stuck in my head all these decades later.

“La Pergola” restaurant, the “Memling” hotel; the young servants; the little girl my mother took under her wing because she had been abandoned by her family… We lived in a grand house on the boulevard Lumumba.

For me, a young naïve teenager who had never left her native Italy, the dark looks and broad smiles of women, men and children were almost hostile, too strong to cope with. I was scared! I was awestruck! 

It was a whole new reality for me, who had been so pampered. A reality whose mystery still remains unsolved even today. What is the origin of the strength, of the splendid nature, of the appealing and inexplicable charm which evokes the word AFRICA?



A SNEAK PEEK
OF THE ALBUM

"African Vibrations", A Cuomo  Foundation Publication

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