Baloji means sorcerer in Chiluba and Swahili. It’s like a curse, like carrying part of the devil or the bad side of things and you know how sorcery is viewed in Africa. People fear them, fear their powers, fear that they can put bad spirit in other’s food and drinks and assumed that they are connected to bad forces.
They call this curse the shadow because it follows its host until it gets what it is asking for ! So I struggled with my name for years before asking my mother why she chose this name. She explains it was to pay homage to an uncle who had the same name and saved the life of my very own father….so in the same sense, sorcerers can also save people to contrary belief and that is what the poet is talking about in the intro of karibu video.
The mask in the video is part of this fetish Africans have with sorcery.
The album cover is also referenced to the mask. It has a Persian motifs and looks Mexican but it is really inspired by the Congolese art forms. Congo has a tradition of wrestlers based on the US WWF(WWE) but with an African twist which is so because of the religious and mystical aspect to it. Think of it as the Dragonball meets Hulk Hogan and the Street Fighters video game characters.
So the video is telling my story—of how I am going into Kinshasa, coming out of the lake city center saying we make visible the mask everybody is wearing by hiding.
The second aspect of the video is where the wrestlers were preparing in the morning of the fight by using rituals and going in the street at noon with their trucks and fanfares to inform the city that there will have a match at 4 o’clock! It describes the energy and excitement of Kinshasa.
I wanted this video to describe Kinshasa as I see it: a Mad Max decor/backdrop. It’s frenetic and chaotic! Nothing is predictable or under control, the justice is lost in their own mess but people have such amazing strength that they keep on fighting even if nothing works. It’s like they keep on trying to pretend that nothing happened since the end of the Zaire regime, that the situation is manageable.
Kinshasa is wild and on the other end it keeps waiting for help like a motherless child.