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“Even my family needs griots.

A resonance, a legend. “

It is 2021 when I meet Christian Nka for the first time, one day when I am accompanying my husband on a project carried out by the association that he directs in conjunction with other local actors at Foresta Park, a large plot of land in the northern districts of Marseille, known as the quartiers Nord of Marseille.

Christian Nka comes from there, the quartiers Nord.

He is known there. Christian Nka, who was born nearby, usually comes to practice sport in Foresta, he leads boxing training sessions.

Christian Nka is a legend. A former boxing champion.

From our first encounter I find him remarkable.

His physique is striking.

Tall, large hands, a long full beard, green eyes, copper skin. He gives the impression of immense strength. 

His voice is deep, his thoughts complex, ramified, political and poetic.

I suggest one day that we meet for work. He accepts.

Christian Nka is a legend.

Three years later, for two weeks, we work at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis.

We get to know each other.

He tells me about his life, his trajectory, his mother, his father, his father's land.

One day he said to me: “I came out of my mother's womb, but I remained in the womb of my neighbourhood.”

He tells me about where he grew up, he tells me about a life outside the system, the choice of marginality.

Christian Nka is a legend.

“There are several versions of me, several categories.”

We grapple with virility, masculinity, we evoke the father, what we inherit and what we leave behind, recognition, the body becoming memory. He tells me about the violence with and against which he built himself and which he would like to bear witness to as is: “I know that through poetry we can”.

These two weeks are a crossing, facing the sea.

He teaches me boxing moves facing the sea.

Facing the sea, he also dances.

“How long does it take to make a man?” ", Christian asks me one day before continuing, "I'm telling you what I think because I'm not 'done' yet.”

“Come on, let’s put on the gloves.

Hush now the storm will pass.”

Version(s) is a crossing, a dance, a survival, a long poem.

I invite Ben LaMar Gay, composer-musician from Chicago, long-term companion, to compose a sound score of variations for Christian Nka.

Through the notes, through the words, through the body, the portrait of the man who one day told me: “We must distinguish ourselves from what seems lost” emerges.

Dorothée Munyaneza, 2024

Artistic direction

Dorothée Munyaneza

Text, artistic collaboration, performance

Christian Nka


Ben LaMar Gay

Images, artistic collaboration

Maya Mihindou


Virginie Dupray / Cie Kadidi, assistée de Nouria Tirou


Théâtre National de Chaillot (on discussion), Maison de la Danse de Lyon (on discussion), Festival d’Automne à Paris (on discussion), Kaai Theater (on discussion), Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Bruxelles (on discussion), Tanz im August, Berlin (on discussion)

With support from the Fondation Camargo – Cassis et de la DRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

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