Monday, December 5, 2022

Current Mood: Angélique Kidjo

Music is a gift of comfort; of connection. Music creates a space for acceptance, inspiration and strength. Most importantly, music heals.

I think we all know this, even if only subconsciously. I know we would live in a much different world if we all valued music and supported its artists in a way that showed respect for the gift they give us.

Angélique Kidjo is a multi Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter and activist. Born in Benin, her talent has taken her around the world. With 14 albums recorded, her music uplifts audiences, while she uses her platform to advocate for the education of young girls in West Africa, gender equality, and against injustice.

Angelique Kidjo
Photo from Kidjo ICM Speaker page

The Origin of the Word “Batonga”

From the Batonga Foundation website.

Founder, Angélique Kidjo, invented the word “Batonga” while she was attending school in her native country of Benin at a time when education for girls was not socially acceptable.

While she was at school, Angélique experienced frequent taunts by the boys around her. As a response to this bullying, Angélique would yell “Batonga!,” a word she invented. The boys didn’t understand what the word meant but to Angélique, it was an assertion of the rights of girls to education.

Later, it became the title of a hit song of Angélique’s in which her lyrics address a young African girl and can be translated as “you are poor but you dance like a princess and you can do as you please regardless of what anyone tells you.” Angélique wanted to use this word as the name of her foundation when she co-founded Batonga in 2006.


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