Today Friday, October 6, music group X-Maleya (photo) is giving a concert at the French Institute of Cameroon. The concert aims to raise awareness of gender-based violence (GBV), which is more frequent against women and girls in the country, according to national authorities.
The initiative, supported by the Canadian High Commission, was born out of the group's experience. "It's an idea that was unfortunately imposed on us by fate. We were powerless witnesses to the suicide of a 14-year-old girl who was being abused by her uncle. She approached us at the time and described her situation. We weren't quick to react and understand what she was going through," explains Roger Samnig, X-Maleya's lead vocalist. "We realized that there are things we should have done earlier only after we were told she was gone. Since that day, we embraced that fight as our own and it is now part of us,” adds the singer.
For this concert, X-Maleya promises an original show. "We've always done traditional concerts, which means there's singing, choreography... But here, there will be singing and theater. Artistically, it will be a sight to behold. (...) We are preparing a great musical show,” says Roger.
This concert is the first of a series to come. To get its war song across, the group has planned a tour of several Cameroonian cities and abroad around "using the arts to strengthen community resilience to GBV," a concept it launched as part of its fight against this phenomenon.
In 2019, X-Maleya released the single "Ta fille n'est pas ta femme", a track against rape, particularly incest, and a call to denounce this scourge. The song, viewed over 3.5 million times on YouTube, was awarded a special prize by the Network of Parliamentarians for Gender Promotion (Repage) for its commitment to fighting GBV that year.
X-Maleya's concert comes at a time when violence against women has been on the rise in Cameroon in recent years. Rape, harassment, and death at the hands of partners or ex-partners have become commonplace in the country. In addition, harmful cultural practices (child marriages, female genital mutilation, degrading widowhood rites, honor killings, etc.) continue to threaten the safety of women and girls and violate their rights. To reverse this trend, the government is calling for synergy actions.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem