with Marianne Gisèle Bema
- What was your main motivation in starting your Bantu Dance sessions?
The empathy I developed at my young age for children and seniors in the late ages, especially the most vulnerable ones, motivated me to do something for them in the beginning of the pandemic. My older son William and I volunteered our time to deliver goods and run some errands for single parents with young kids and our vulnerable seniors. The idea that only a very restricted amount of seniors could benefit from our services, I promptly opted to dance at the beaches in early mornings and post the video in our local facebook page, in the hope that my videos cross their ways and bring smiles on faces.
2. Tell us about your book ‘ ‘Ngune stands up to Gure the Bully’:
It is a book that addresses the healthy community art of living, the benefit of a sustainable life, the bullying issue, that is a major scourge existing at every level in our society, and that also raises awareness about children with albinism who are subject to multiple forms of discrimination, persecution, seclusion, mutilation and bullying worldwide.
3. What is your recipe to stay zen?
I have a roof, I have food, my children are with me and doing well, and the priceless values and heritages my ancestors rewarded me with. Also, I am the only boss in our household.
Tell us about your journey
Marianne Bema, descendant of the prestigious Batoufam and Batoum Royalty, was born and raised in Cameroon, Central Africa. After the birth of her twins, Marianne was given the special and highly respected name of Magnie as required by the Bantu-Bamileke culture (which means the Mother of Twins). It is to note that some worldwide celebrated Artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin and most recently La Maison Hermes, Ralph Lauren got their inspiration from the Bantu people outstanding handmade arts pieces. Magnie is fluent in 12 languages. Over the years she has had the privilege of living in
various countries of the world where she experienced diverse cultures from Belgium to France, Gabon, Germany and now the United States of America.
Advice to Malibu locals who would like to learn our dance:
If any single part of your body can move then you can dance!
Show up, find a spot for your pack, be ready to share your warmth, and join fellows welcoming you with you-you and generous smiles in their face.
What do you do for your well being:
Philanthropy, sharing cultural cuisine with friends, self care, arts and music appreciation and family time contribute to keeping me well grounded and sane.
Marianne Gisèle Bema’s artistic journey kicked off with the creation of ‘Bantu Arts Atelier for Kids’, which aims at making known the treasures and practices of the Bantu culture. This is done through situational presentations at festivals, workshops, arts craft games and fashion. Her biggest asset is her team: made up of her children. They help her with video editing, marketing tools and other organisational aspects of her project.
She and her children are also strong advocates against racial issues, and have been very vocal in different news outlets in the Nation.
Marianne penned a children’s book: ‘Nguni stands up to Gure the Bully’, with the aim of arming children with the right tools to stand up against bullying and the benefits of a healthy community living.
Lately she has been mobilizing hundreds into participating in regular early morning Afro dance sessions at the beach of Malibu, in order to offer people some hope in challenging times.
Whatever Marianne does, she has an honest approach of leadership through service.
Marianne Gisèle Bema is a Malibu-based single mother, arts educator, accomplished author, philanthropic, public speaker and an unconventional freelance arts curator.
A self developed curriculum: Bantu arts atelier has created a space where children and community members are exposed to African cultures; It boosts development and appreciation of others’ cultures, while keeping their own heritage. My program has created a bridge of discernment between Africa perceived by my Westerns peers and the authentic Africa.
My involvement in communities has valued me multiple media coverages, appreciation notes, and a certificate of recognition and congratulations awarded by the City of Calabasas.