“Imagine a fully black world… Imagine a fully white, yellow or red world (…) Imagine a world where everyone would be like you… Imagine that world, it wouldn’t be the world.”
These are thought-provoking words of Alain Alfred Moutapam’s poem “La Différence”. And difference is what Moutapam is celebrating. Difference is part of the world, and difference should not lead to indifference. Strong words, strong ideas.
So you might ask yourself: who is this Alain Alfred Moutapam? The first vision you get from him is the one of a tall, thin, Dandy-like guy with a smile on his face. But it is a lot more than this. When Moutapam starts speaking, you can feel the presence of a sensitive person. The next question would then be… How can someone pass from law to poetry? Indeed, Alain Alfred Moutapam obtained a Masters degree in public Law in Paris. When you ask him the question, the man naturally answers: “I am a lawyer by training but poetry is my vocation.”
Alain Alfred Moutapam then became a leading poet of the “neo-negritude” movement. As many other artists and intellectuals, he is questioning the History of the whole Black community, from enslavement to neo-colonialism. Essential, thought-provoking topics…especially when we think of the persisting general attitude in Africa when it comes to neo-colonialism. An attitude that was interiorized: “You have urban Africa, traditional Africa and white Africa” (Sinda). But Moutapam’s poetry is also inspired by broader social questions.
“Ma difference” is a general celebration of what makes this world a living and dynamic one. One cannot live without difference. Difference should be accepted, enjoyed and celebrated: “My difference, as your difference, is the essence of this world”. Whether he is referring to Africa or to our society in general, Alain Alfred Moutapam gives us here some very powerful lyrics and a lot to think about…