“Theater is a tool for resistance.” – Soeuf Elbadawi
Comorian artist, author and journalist Soeuf Elbadawi was born in 1970 in Moroni, both the largest city and capital of the largest island of the archipelago, Grand Comore, as well as federal capital and seat of the government of the Union of the Comoros.
As a young man, he got familiar with French literature at the library of the Alliance Française in Moroni and was soon in charge of its theatre troupe called Children of the Theater, staging plays with a group of amateur actors for an audience of French expatriates. He had his first major success as an actor when he met the Béninoise writer, Jean Pliya and was soon on his way to France in 1992.
Settling in Paris to a life of full time journalism, he worked with Radio France Internationale (RFI) where he produced various magazines on subjects like arts and culture, music, immigration and social life, etc. Some of his fictional works and theoretical texts were published in this period in Africultures and several other magazines.
After spending about 15 years he decided a return home to the Comoros was imperative for him to reinvent himself as a writer in his homeland. Soon after arriving in 2006, he was no longer content with just writing fiction and he explored other areas such as music, drama, and poetry to express his passion, thoughts, ideas and rage.
On the invitation of Mohammed Toihiri, Elbadawi joined the University of Comoros where he worked on some experimental theater projects with students. A ‘research laboratory’ called Laboresvik was created which later formed an integral part of his own company O Mcezo* that was founded in November 2008. O Mcezo* is popular for staging street performances to sensitize the people.
The group received support of the Prince Claus Fund for the production of “Un Dhikri Pour Nos Morts” in 2012 which ran from March to May in the Comoros. Soeuf Elbadawi has continued to be a lone strident voice delivering poetry that depicts the humiliation, the rage, the pain and suffering of the Comorians. In addition, he works as a movie producer with his outfit Washko Ink, and is the director of Muzdalifa House.
Did You Know?
- Soeuf Elbadawi was born in Moroni, capital of the Comoros.
- As a young man, he spent time at the library of the Alliance Française in Moroni and became acquainted with French literature and authors like Moliere, Beaumarchais, e.t.c.
- He moved to France in 1992 and lived in Paris for 14 years working with RFI as a journalist.
- In 2003, he had an important milestone with the publication of a collection of stories by 13 African authors in News Françafrique.
- He designed and directed the musical project, Zainaba: Chants de Femmes des Comores in 2005.
- The following year, Zainaba (songs and dance) performance was staged in Moroni.
- In 2007, he was attacked by his people who are very conservative for writing against communalism and their view of better life.
- Elbadawi is a music producer and he produces for the Parisian record company Buda Musique.
- He was awarded a writing residency scholarship by la Festival International des Francophonies Limousin in January 2010.
- Among his several works are: Moroni, This Long Poem (film) in 2005, Moroni Blues (play) in 2008, Fictions Comorian: (2010) a collection of short stories, New Comorian Scriptures (2007), A Poem for My Mother: Rose Between the Teeth (2008), Moon Chants and Hope (music) 2013, etc.
Afro Tourism salutes this resolute champion of the people, a journalist, author, actor, director, musician, poet, and artiste per excellence; a living legend and national icon of the Comoros, Soeuf Elbadawi!
‘Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism, capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.