Jean Kabuta

I came to Belgium in my early teens. After my secondary education, I studied first Germanic philology and then African linguistics at the Free University of Brussels During a trip to the DRC in 1980, I discovered the African panegyric poetry called kasàlà, which completely shakes me up. After a doctorate on comparative African oral traditions, I set out to give the African panegyric – which I propose to call generically contemporary kasàlà – a transcultural dimension, notably by associating writing with orality.
The art of giving thanks, of wonderment and celebration

The need to open this art to the rest of the world is accompanied by the need to develop a methodology for teaching it. This dream gradually became reality through my teaching of African linguistics and literature at the University of Ghent in Belgium, as well as through kasàlà workshops organised in the early 1990s. In 2012, having retired, I dedicate myself to teaching and spreading kc from Quebec.

Contemporary kasàlà adapts to new contexts and is enriched by new contributions. It allows us to learn how to poetise the life of every human being, whatever their culture of origin. In doing so, he focuses on the beauty and regenerative power of each person. Contemporary kasàlà celebrates life in all its forms and invites wonder at the mystery of life, despite the existence of suffering. As a posture, it is presence to the essential and to bouncing back.

Today, contemporary kasàlà, defined as “the art of being alive”, is making its way in Africa, Europe and North America. Faced with the distress of the damaged person – whether it is the Conqueror who has renounced his humanity in order to enslave his fellow African or native, or the Conquered who has finally lost all self-confidence – my poetry tends to be embodied in action, according to the motto: “From poetry to action”. Increasingly committed, militating for the defence of human dignity wherever it is violated, she deals with topical issues such as feminicide, racism, neo-colonialism, pan-Africanism or feminism, not forgetting history. More and more political, therefore, contemporary kasàlà willingly expresses indignation, revolt, in short, vital anger, an emotion that, when experienced, one cannot remain idle. We have to do something, no matter how small!

However, whatever the theme, contemporary kasàlà remains a text of hope, which always leaves a window open or a crack through which light and air can pass.

It is this word, which is based on ubuntu understood as ‘the art of being human’, that I strive to spread throughout the world.

Coordonnées :

Rimouski (Canada)
Tél. : +1 418 730 4602
Working languages : French, Dutch, English, Kiswahili, Cilubà

Athi clè mli man be bo
The crooked road does not bend the hip

You may follow a rough path, but you still come out with your hips straight.

You have to be flexible and adaptable, and that doesn’t mean you can’t stay true to your principles. In other words: It is possible to adapt and stay true to oneself.

Baoulé proverb, expliexplained by par Tidjane Thiam.