Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #1 Papa Mfumu’eto 1er

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 3): Papa Mfumu’eto 1er, Histoires de Kinshasa, 2016 (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 1: Papa Mfumu’eto 1er


Hello, dear friends.
I’m Papa Mfumu’eto I.
I am a draughtsman who specialises in popular comic strips.
From the very beginning, I have written almost all my strips in Lingala.
They might contain the odd French word, but I’m in the habit of writing mainly in Lingala.
In Lingala as it is spoken in Kinshasa today.
I’m keen to continue this way of working.
So that the quality increases.
And so that I can continue to make the comic strips without too much trouble.
But I’d be delighted if I could also make comic strips in Kikongo, Ciluba and Swahili, just as I do in Lingala.
I don’t want the comic strips that Papa Mfumu’eto makes to be predominantly in English or French.
There can be comic strips in French, English or Portuguese.
But the comics that really matter are those made in Lingala.
But not any Lingala.
Rather, the Lingala that is spoken in Kinshasa.
This is something important, which I want to say.
So, comic strips in Lingala.
Because there is also a Lingala from Mankanza.
There’s a Lingala of the rascals.
There is also a Lingala from the province of Kongo Central.
And people also speak differently in Kikwit.
But I love making the comic strips in the Lingala of Kinshasa.
Maybe Lingala is not very uniform.
I’m talking mainly about the Lingala spoken in the municipalities of Kinshasa, Barumbu and Lingwala.
Not the Lingala spoken in the urban district of Tshangu.
Nor that of Kisenso.
We all speak Lingala but there are certain differences between the Lingala in the municipalities of Kinshasa and Lingwala, which is where Papa Mfumu’eto spends most of his time.
In Tshangu, they have their own way of speaking Lingala.
I also like the Lingala of Tshangu.
It’s a Lingala that’s common there.
As far as my specialism is concerned, I mainly dealt with political issues at the time of Mobutu.
For a while now, I’ve been apolitical.
I no longer deal with political issues.
But more with mysticism, witchcraft, sorcery, religions. Also, themes from daily life.
In other words, how we experience everyday life.
Those are my specialisms.
In a nutshell, this is what I wanted to say.
But it’s not everything. Later, we’ll talk some more.