Simba Yangala is a performer and a dancer from Zaire. She arrived to New York in 1997, escaping the ongoing civil war when she was but 13 years old. Yangala has performed in Susana Cook’s “100 Years of Attitude” and “The Values Horror Show.” She has presented original African dances at Dixon Place and has also performed in Chicago’s Peace Fair. Yangala is an ethics and dance teacher and also an AIDS activist.
“ Little Refugee from Zaire”
Yangala leads her audience on a journey to Africa, presenting a vision of how Africa is viewed, by outsiders and by members of the African diaspora. She explores the differences in how people see Africans and what they expect from people simply because they are from the continent of Africa. A fantasy refugee camp will be enacted for the audience. Here you will see little refugees from Africa trying to learn to eat with forks, to sleep on beds, or to walk in shoes. There will be dance performances and traditional African chanting.
When Yangala arrived in the USA, people constantly asked if she slept in a tree back home, if she had an elephant or a lion for a pet, or if she knew how to eat with forks and knives.
In “Little Refugee from Zaire,” Yangala explores the stereotypes that people have of refugees from Africa and the deep misunderstandings of her people’s history.