A few days ago, I went to an eating spot at Entrée Ecole Pilote to take lunch. As I sat down, I heard a familiar voice call my name. I checked out the person. It was my colleague and friend, Frankline alias Glissement Yobi Yobi. I moved over to his table. He was sitting with one of his friends. We both ordered two plates of achu. Yobi’s friend was already half way into his meal. When it was served, we began eating with gusto. A slim young man in slippers then walked in with a few pirated CD’s, with the album covers all in black and white and displayed his wares to us. I wasn’t interested at all and went on with my achu eating after telling him I preferred hip hop music instead. Yobi Yobi asked him what kind of music it was. “un nouveau style de Makossa, a new style of makossa.” “Na who sing am?” Yobi added. “Na me.” I turned and looked at the guy. He didn’t look like an artist even to the slightest degree. He looked like any ordinary guy on the street. I counted the black and white fake CD’s on his right hand-four. Wonderful, I thought. He started explaining his musical brand, which made absolutely no sense to any of us. The woman who sold food told him to dance to the tune of his makossa music, for better illustration. He only went on explaining his new sound. Again, the food seller told him to dance but he kept on, determined to make us comprehend his incomprehensible music. For the third time, the food seller challenged him to dance to his music. “Dance the music noh! You dong talk about the music we dong hear. Dance am, make we see.” We all couldn’t quite understand why she was insisting on the dancing.
The boy suddenly gyrated and unleashed a style. I didn’t see any of the dancing at first, because he was doing it adjacent to me. I only noticed that Yobi Yobi had frozen with a ball of fufu near his mouth and was staring at the young man in a stooping position and in wild bemusement. I turned around and looked at the young man who now was really…“should I call it dancing?” He was doing some frantic movements, twirling his left leg and right arm but in a manner as if he had no bone (still explaining his brand of music whole heartedly in a loud voice.) The ‘dancing’ was something in between human shivering/a rain soaked bird shuffling its feathers/slow motion Juju dancing/a blind man dancing, all of that combined into one slim human; no coordination, no attempt at makossa execution, no dancing charm, no swagger, no nothing. It was the strangest, most comical and most horrible dancing I’ve ever witnessed.
Imagine the worst dancing you’ve ever seen. This our guy was a little more than your worst. We first stared at him in action for about 30 seconds with Yobi Yobi’s mouth and mine still hanging open before unanimously exploding into wild laughter. But the guy kept dancing and explaining his music! By this time I was already shedding tears. Yobi’s friend stood up, held a chair tight so that he wouldn’t choke and collapse with laughter before Yobi Yobi finally said in difficulty, “Boy, stop, stop, stop. Em, Mami, you still hold my change noh! Gi yi five hundred.” It was only when the money was handed to him that he stopped dancing. (when man dong see side way yi 500 go komot for di Douala! Yi go pursue am, whether wunna laugh yi.) Our ‘artist’ extended his right hand to give Yobi Yobi the CD but my man declined quickly, saying, “No boy, take am, take am go, no bother” “But the music fine,” the artist protested. “No, take am go, no worry.”
The dancer left and we resumed laughing again. Then Yobi’s friend, got up and tried to imitate the guy with his worst style but Yobi Yobi told him, “You di even over dance fine.” And we laughed again. After we calmed down, we got back to our meal. Yobi Yobi suddenly threw in another comment. “Boy, time way that man start dance my heart cut!” We exploded again. By now, I had shed tears to my shirt. He still chipped in, “If you go play that kind man yi CD, you go move am quick quick, go back for road start find yi for beat’am.” The food seller added, “you sure say the CD go even play self?” This time I warned Yobi Yobi to stop throwing jokes because I was certainly going to choke. I reminded him that there was pepper in the achu. The woman who sold food told us he usually came there with his four CDs. Yobi’s friend added, “Ah okay, na why that way, you bi di insist say make yi dance eh!” “Yes noh, so that I go laugh. Someday yi bi dong cam dance that yi thing for here, people laugh sutay, kosh yi sutaaay but yi di only dance and explain yi music.” We laughed again. “Oh boy, See how man dong laugh for njoh!”