Socially: the program provides very entertaining and enriching alternatives to street gangs, drugs and prostitution. Read more

Economically: the program saves the city council huge amounts of money in terms of policing, drug, alcohol and other social rehabilitation programs and prison upkeep. Read more

Culturally: it enriches the city or country. Africa still remains a mystery to most people. Its culture is little known. Read more

Tourism: many cities and countries derive a huge chunk of their revenues from tourism. Read more

Health: the explosion of child obesity and other numerous health concerns tied to inactivity in North America provides a good reason for the introduction of these dances. Read more


The African folk dance project grew out of the need to provide children involved in street gangs, prostitution and drugs with entertaining and uplifting after-school alternatives. Initially conceived with African Americans in mind, its perspectives have been broadened over time to accommodate other communities facing similar challenges. One way slavery took a terrible toll on the African Diaspora as a whole was to deprive it of its own cultural identity.

The void this trend created greatly accounts for many of the problems facing African Americans today. By using African folk dances as a skeleton onto which flesh will be progressively grafted, a reinforced cultural foundation could be laid by carefully tapping into and blending the best of Africa, African Diaspora and some relevant borrowings from surrounding cultures. As these folk dances are only meant to provide a framework, what goes into the final package to be used to steer children in the right direction will depend largely on the nature of the challenges each community subscribing to this solution faces. As a starting point, the children will be initiated into the very exciting and sometimes challenging process of playing exotic instruments such as xylophones, thumb piano, gongs, bata drums, djembe, kora, talking drums, bongo, slit-drums, and a wide range of traditional African flutes and trumpets.

They will also be trained to dance (to forms such as tamukung, subi, asiko, souflet, mbaya, njang, the Zulu war dance...) to the music of these instruments. Unlike many similar projects, which tend generally to be confined solely to entertainment, this one will eventually develop into an elevated platform for different forms of empowerment. One form will reinforce a sense of identity, dignity and pride, ingredients essential in changing the way the children view themselves. Another form may translate into the thirst for knowledge and a reassessment of the importance of education and scholarship. Since the children live in a capitalist world where material acquisition is very important, a third strain of empowerment will instil in them the right ways to accumulate fortune.

Not the often glamorized methods of destroying their own society by peddling cocaine and crack or running guns but by relying on the time-honoured traditions of hard work, courage, and the unrelenting spirit for economic success. For the community as a whole, the empowerment could mean greater solidarity and involvement in the daily management of its own affairs. For the African Diaspora, whose cultural foundation this project seeks in the main to reinforce, there shall be formal initiation into the program, a wide scope of cultural education on the significance of the instruments, music and dances as well as on some rites and practices to be observed. Almost like a Chinese or Korean child caught up in the transformative spiritual aspects of martial arts. Still within the dance framework, and in accordance with certain rites and traditions, there shall be initiation into adulthood (identical to the Jewish Bar mitzvah), complete with all the theatrical performances, incantations, songs, dresses and dances.  Read more