ehj zounmenouHonorary Award for the Civil Society – 2012


TENI-TEDJI: The 72 hours of the marionnet in Benin

Tags: art, culture, marionnet, spectacle, awareness raising, festival, education, workshop.

Jude Zounmenou, artist. First born of a family with four boys, Jude Zounmenou, stopped his studies to become a comedian. He learnt by doing through personal contact with artists after public shows. He quickly found his way which is much connected with marionnets that he makes with his team. Together they spread happiness in the four corners of Benin.

Problem: The objective of TENI-TEDJI is two folds: it is first to reinforce the status of artists in Benin. "A comedian is a red flag"; "do you want to be a comedian …ah Yeap,… are you crazy?" This the way the society in Benin judges artists. Jude demonstrates the level of importance of promoting culture. Marionnets are for him a tool to communicate and for change. At different occasions he makes events on social issues for raising the awareness on art and artists in the society: vaccination, Human rights, immigration...

Action: Through education and programs for awareness raising Jude contributes to the transformation of his society in Benin. He uses the humor to move beyond the taboos. His success lies in the fact that marionnets often attract young people. Apart from his workshops, Jude does also organize trainings. And together with his team, Jude makes seminars for promoting his comedy and art in Benin. Under the umbrella of Thakamou Culture Arts, an NGO he recently created, Jude made the first international festival on marionnets in Benin in 2009. Artists from Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast, France, etc, arrived to make each her/his speciality in comedy making. This year Jude worked on a new theme: people with a handicap.

Harubuntu Dimension: Eventually, Jude could make mountains move. With a convincing capacity Jude has some powers for mobilization. He believes in himself and in the strength of his society with a contagious enthusiasm. Jude stimulates others to realize their own dreams: "I need to make myself happy before making others satisfied. I need to find myself in my deeds for the transformation of my society". His vision strives to reach the happiness of people; being honest with them at the same time.


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