(Un)official Language by Panaibra Gabriel Canda revolves around the importing of a foreign language, in this case Portuguese in the former colony of Mozambique which gained its independence in 1975. Portuguese, as the official language imported by the colonial power, encounters the indigenous languages of the country. The conflict between the official language and the language spoken at home is a legacy that shapes the way one feels and thinks. On stage, two dancers, the famous Jazz singer Maria João and a musician reflect upon the pendulum effect of the standardisation and creolisation of the language and what remains of it after the colonizers are gone. (Un)official language is a piece about the impossibility of communicating with language. Taking the Tower of Babel as a point of departure, whose construction is evoked with colorful wooden blocks. “Press 1 for English, press 2 for Portuguese” helps little if the content is not compatible. The body remembers events that the head has forgotten. “In a country with 64 indigenous languages, the body is strong, not the word we no longer believe in,” says Panaibra and yearns for a world of curiousness about the unknown. Preserve the diversity as an anti-colonial principle.
Duration: 75 min.
A production by CulturArte. In coproduction with Parc de la Vilette Paris, Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels and Zürcher Theater Spektakel. With the support of PAMOJA program – ACP Cultures-funded by the European Union, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Institut Français Paris, Franco-Mozambican Cultural Centre.