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EZRA MABENGEZA: A SEASON IN THE CONGO

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We’re always searching out high caliber art and artists to share with you here on WIJW, and we continue in our quest with the brilliant actor, Ezra Mabengeza.

You can currently see him perform in Aime Cesaire’s profoundly poetic tragedy, A Season In The Congo chronicling the “…meteoric rise and fall of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the newly independent Republic of Congo in 1960.” Bringing together film, dance, music, and poetry, the play addresses the intrigue surrounding the Congo’s decolonization and recalls Lumumba’s impact as “the poet leader who lights the fire of Africa.”

Mabengeza shares his thoughts on Patrice Lumumba, as well as his very personal motivation for portraying him:

The story for me is rooted in Lumumbas vision which Aime Cesaire not only shared, championed but coined so brilliantly that Africa will not fail us! This literally means that since Africa is the cradle of civilization since we are all African the humanity in us, the spiritual essence, the light that gives life and sustains the whole world in us will not fail! Yes we are in this situation where we are so divided man against man, woman against woman, WE ARE UNDOUBTEDLY AT A POINT NOW where we see each other for whom we are within, the light that is the spark of life in all of us! This collective consciousness flow that is now streaming throughout the universe because we are closer to each other as a result of technological advances IS A FORCE THAT IS CHANGING THIS WORLD AS WE SPEAK NOW! We can see that the ones who suffer the most are successive generations, we can see what we pass on to our children and this is moving all of us into the right direction.

The greatest thing i experienced while traveling was to be able to see the truth my parents shared that LOVE, not just a love that is expressed with words, but a love that is active and comes from deep within is our greatest calling. How could i one who suffered under apartheid harbor prejudice to any living creature? What was gonna be my response when i was put in these situations where a mass is directing negative energy, towards another group, just because they are hurting? Is my suffering greater than theirs? or is any suffering horrible, detestable and deplorable and must be dissolved on any level! We are at a point now where people are experiencing that deep inner consciousness rooted in all humanity where we look at each others light and darkness and understand that balance is necessary. In the original African consciousness everything has a purpose and can be both negative and positive, there is white that is negative just as much as there is black that is positive and vice versa! LOVE has no judgement it has no record of wrongs , think of all the higher noble positive connotations of love you get where i am going at!

Lumumba without question believed in this, he was not concerned about details of tribe, class, etc he saw that incredible potential that one people united together could accomplish! Congo is the heart of Africa and while i respect and appreciate the fact that South Africa has gotten much love from the world, let me be the one to say that the HEART OF ALL HUMANITY, CONGO must stop bleeding and all of us will heal! Anyone and everyone knows that what is in a mans heart is what comes out and ripples across the world! I dedicate this honor of playing Lumumba to his wife Ma Pauline, like most of the women in Africa and the world, the real unsung heroes of any liberation struggle, the ones whom no streets are named after, the ones whom no statues are erected…They are the ones who watch their sons die, anyone of us who would carry a baby would NEVER EVER TAKE ANOTHER LIFE! They are the ones who go to work, they are the ones who when our fathers come back, some of those who do, a shell of themselves, still treat our fathers with extraordinarily intuitive dignity, tenderness and love! Thank God for women, i love you mama! i love you tata! Camagu!

Needless to say, Mabengeza’s personal story and his inspired portrayal of Patrice Lumumba has us quite captivated (incidentally he has informed us that he also has an art school in the works to help promote and nurture other creative souls!). I hope many of you will be able to experience his warmth and brilliance in person!

Getting an impromptu sneak-peak of Mabengeza’s performance, I’m sporting a Paul Stuart teal cashmere sweater coat, Dolce & Gabbana cerulean blue cashmere turtleneck sweater, Gucci wool cotton check pant in grays and blues, Pierre Hardy cobalt suede demi boots, Rolex watch and my fragrance is Creed Himalaya.

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