We have a winner: Elhadj Oumar Baldé, a 20 year young slam artist from the Republic of Guinea. After an exciting and beautiful final Saturday evening in the heart of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Elhadj Oumar proudly holds the trophy. More than 300 spectators saw the slammers compete for the title. Besides the slam performances, several invited artists performed dances, slam, circus, rap and a DJ made the venue buzz.
Organised by Poetic Saturdays and in the presence of ACSP ambassadors Rodrigue Ndzana from Cameroon, Clément Ngariadji from Chad and Yaya Kassé from Guinea, the evening started with a first round of 7 candidates from Botswana, Cameroon, Guinea, Mauritius, Madagascar, Chad and Togo. Candidate Saoussene Aberkane from Algeria could unfortunately not represent her country due to unforeseen circumstances. A four-member jury, all bilingual (English/French), gave scores to the participants on the basis of the content of their texts and their stage presence. Four artists were selected for the semi-finals: Billy Cancandy from Cameroon, Pierre Louis J. from Mauritius, Oumar Baldé from Guinea and Louise Faza from Madagascar. This ended with the first place for Guinea and second place for Mauritius qualifying for the final. Madagascar and Cameroon battled and ended third and fourth place respectively.
Both finalists were well matched and performed with great energy. The Guinean El Hadji Oumar Baldé became the African Slam champion, charming his audience during his three performances with his stage presence as well as the depth of his lyrics. The young slammer, who could count on the support of the people of his homeland but also of the rest of the six-member Guinean delegation, kept repeating that he had come to win: “The cup goes to Conakry [capital Guinea]. I am cheerful. I have worked hard and I have prepared very well,” he said.
After all the participants had congratulated each other and got a certificate, Elhadj received his trophy, and Guinea’s national anthem sounded through the hall. The winners 1, 2 and 3 also received cheques worth 650 euro, 300 euro and 200 euro respectively. “Everyone won with ACSP. Poetic Saturdays who did an excellent job, the ambassadors who organised the national championships and especially the candidates who really gave the best of themselves,” said ambassador of CASP Ethiopia Biniam Getaneh, for whom organising this ACSP was a real challenge after several postponements.
Who is Elhadj Oumar Balde?
Elhadj Oumar Baldé was born in Banankoro in a sub-prefecture of Kerouane in Guinea. Here he started schooling and was drawn to theatre. For health reasons he had to move to the capital Conakry where he continued his education. In high school he joined the school’s theater group Robellis. Not long after he discovered the art of slam. Together with two friends he won the inter-school slam contest organized by the collective J’art-icule twice in a row (2015-2016). In 2017 he won the national slam championship of Guinea and was therefore qualified to represent his country at the first edition of the ACSP in N’Djamena, Chad in 2018. Unfortunately, due to visa issues he and his delegation could not be present at the festival. However, this year he was able to take part and became the winner.
Besides performing solo, he is part of a slam duo with Mamadouba Dieng.
The live stream of the evening can be watched here.