Central African Republic
Zokela means noise from a distance. It can be drums, human voices, water falls or whatever noise one may hear from afar. In the town of Mbaiki, there were young men- also aspiring musicians- who called themselves “Zokela” in 1981. They were discovered by Musiki, a rumba-style player from Bangui on tour across the country.
Music is a part of our community. It is woven into the fabric of our daily lives, and not something that needs to be taught in a special class in order for us to learn it. Our ancestors incorporated music and dance during many occasions such as: healing rituals, funerals, hunting and the birth of twins. This also allowed us the ability to heal sickness, stop epidemics, and live without being dependent on western medicine.
Our parents were both musicians. Our mom was a singer who performed at funerals and other celebrations. Our dad was a singer, dancer and drummer. Even back home in Bangui, our uncle Dibaba is the leader of the band “Zokela”. As a young man, our dad was one of the founding members of the group Gbessi. This began in Lobaye in 1975 in Bangui, the capital of CAR (Central African Republic). The idea was to keep the Lobayen community together so that they can share together in their burdens and joys. To this day, the group is still alive and strong.
We, the new generation, have decided to continue the vision once given to us by our Dad. Zo Kwe Zo is the name we have chosen as our group name and the slogan for the human race to see themselves as one. This concept originated from Barthelemy Boganda, the found of CAR (Central African Republic).
Regardless of color, background or gender, all humans are equal. That is the basic lesson taught to us by our Dad as we were growing up. Now, it is our turn to pass it to our children and others we meet along the way. This is the very history of the group and a principle on which we stand.