The Djellibah Journey…
In African communities, many stories and tales of ancestors, triumphs, defeats and history alike were and continue to be passed on to generations to come, mostly by griots, the oratory experts, cora players and vocalists of our lands who serve as the safekeepers and encyclopedia of tradition and culture. They have been called many things throughout time and spaces.
In many West African countries, they are known as Djelli or Jali. Oral tradition is passed on by word of mouth, this means that many African stories are not captured visually or in writing for safeguarding or easy access.
As a medium for sharing and showcasing our diversely rich Panafrican cultures, traditions and creativity, we took on the name Djellibah (which means big griot in the Mandé languages of West Africa). A true representation, which encompasses what, we hope to represent and achieve– a platform that presents our stories in various art forms, particularly using visual digital media.
Djellibah aims to document and serve as a library for many future generations, of Africans and the diaspora alike, to look to. A place where the weary can rest and the lost can seek and come to find their home.
Djellibah is born from a dream of the children of Africa who know what it means to yearn for and constantly seek their identity and representation in art of all forms. Let us breathe life into this dream and make it a reality.
-Panafricus and AfriLeoness
We stood on the edge of hills and mountaintops
Rested under the shade of Baobab trees
Swam down creeks, streams and rivers
Followed the beats of our rhythmic drums
Guided by the voices of our ancestors
We listened to tales of our might
Learned about who we were, who we are
Of our greatness throughout the eras
For future generations of Africans to come
Buried deep in the sand lies
A vision foretold by cowry shells
Of the day they will unleash stories untold
We are yesterday's storytellers.
We are tomorrow's traditions.
We are today's Future.
We are Djellibah!