What? The ever laughing Africans’ laughter is tragic? What an earth will the Africultures team have us swallow this time? Don’t panic: a simple notion imposes, inexorably. That of the weight of History, the weight of the present. Is it better to cry about it? Or to laugh? We could have sought to criticize the image of the hedonistic Black, yet again, the eternal anti-materialistic Man Friday who thrives on social warmth alone… But we preferred to try, in too few words, and, above all, with too little humor, to understand laughter from Africa, to understand its specificity, its message for the world.
Of course we should laugh about it! For, as Koffi Kôkô reminds us, the roots of laughter go way back into the childhood of humanity. Like an archaic memory going back, a memory of a something terrible, of a something never forgotten, which must incessantly be exorcised, eradicated, in order to master it, to reconstruct it, to capture its energy so that it be directed towards a more humane future. For we who no longer believe in Father Christmas, who no longer burn the Carmentran, who no longer listen to our grandmothers, who no longer go to the sacred grove, for we who neglect all that enabled us to revisit our ancient death drive in myth, and who, as a result, tend to project it onto other groups and other peoples, for we for whom laughter is the last possible therapy, the last way of salvation. Africa teaches us the « laughter of salvation » Sony Labou Tansi spoke about. It is in a good position to: it needs it so much itself!
The court jester has always been a lucid guide. He had « the tragic courage to laugh in complete consciousness« . Let us without further to-do openly embrace artists of all descriptions! Let us accept their extravagant laughter: it can only make us feel better. Let’s even make them the standard-bearers of our revolts at this time when resistance has become so terribly necessary.
///Article N° : 5316