Its largely youthful proponents see it as harmless, light-hearted entertainment. Yet, the spectacle of nude or partially nude young girls, some of them in their early teens, performing lewd and lascivious ÔÇśdance' moves by exposing their genitalia and other taboo zones to the rhythm of tams-tams and other musical instruments is a sub-culture that is bound to shock and offend even liberal sensibilities. Welcome to the unsettling world of  Ivorian "Mapouka", a musical genre that is making huge  waves of controversy across West Africa and beyond  with its stark and graphic images! In Nigeria and much of Africa , Mapouka is repackaged and peddled mainly in either the VCD or DVD format.


  I must admit right away that I discovered Mapouka by accident. And what a discovery it has been! Like other culture-minded citizens, I make it a point of duty updating my music library each time I visit the fatherland. A connoisseur of indigenous music forms, I cherish the diversity that African choreographies offer. So, during one of my  trips in Nigeria , I went to my favorite music store in Makurdi. My aim was to buy the latest CDs and DVDs/VCDs by Congolese artistes. After showing me about ten titles, the boy behind the counter suggested in a rather cheerful tone that he also had DVDs of a genre he called "Mapouka"! He immediately proceeded to play a VCD. Luckily, it was in the morning and there was no other client in the store. I got hold of the box. On it were inscribed the words " Nigeria Mapouka. Wicked and Wild Live"! I couldn't believe what I was seeing on the screen  - raw and indeed vulgar postures of semi-naked African women gyrating on the bare floor with young, half-dressed, apparently viral men on top, supposedly feigning copulation! All that, to thunderous applause from a huge local audience! Feigned or not, some of these scenes were clearly obscene, the type of moral perversions that inspire revulsion whenever there is a debasement of one of Nature's greatest gifts to Man ÔÇô sex , a debasement that would readily merit the tag of "coitus more ferarum", that is , "sex by the way of  beasts"! This was an initiation I had not bargained for. All the same, an unrelenting voice beckoned my curiosity. I had to learn more about this unusual phenomenon. I paid for the VCD and another one in the same category, that is apart from the music I had gone to the store to buy in the first place.


Back to where my family and I were staying, I continued educating myself regarding this ÔÇśnaughty' Mapouka. Of course, my wife was scandalized. That is putting it mildly. She couldn't imagine that the relevant African authorities, the Nigerian government included, were (and still are) doing little or nothing in the face of what she termed the menace of home grown pornography. In one scene of the Mapouka VCDs, a girl was completely naked. She lay on her back, legs wide open and continued to shake her waist to tunes by what I later learnt is a singer from Ivory Coast . Yet another scene was shot in the bush! There were three plump young women, all naked except for a flimsy girdle or head scarf around their respective trunks. They ÔÇśdanced' with their backs facing the camera! In yet another tableau, a dancer was on stage in an Ivorian bar. Her performance included a masturbation segment with the help of a probing beer bottle!

It goes without saying that this evocation of the Mapouka legend in Nigeria bears no voyeuristic design. It is definitely not part of an orchestrated campaign to impose subjective standards of morality on our society. Its intention is first and foremost to help provoke debate around one of the major moral questions of our times. Why, for instance, is pornography or so-called adult entertainment so brazenly invading our socio-economic spaces without any countervailing  authority or influences robustly challenging the plague? Is this the way of the future for Nigeria and the rest of Africa ? I suspect that much of what is called Nigerian Mapouka is a commercialized repackaging of Ivorian productions. This is not to say that there may not be out there home-grown, authentic Nigerian versions of the Mapouka odyssey. There are already dark hints here and there that some local Nigerian producers may be making soft porn for an illicit underground market. Whether native to Nigeria or not, the fact that this negation of all that is culturally decent seems to be competing with respectable art forms emanating from Nollywood and elsewhere for the minds of impressionable youths and the society in general must be seen as deeply troubling.


It needs reiterating that the acts of debauchery captured in Mapouka DVDs are happening in locations or establishments accessible to large segments of  the society, including underage boys and girls.  They are part of a disturbing social trend, fast becoming the staple of night life  across much of West Africa today.  These acts of decadence would suggest a worrisome "democratization", that is to say the banalizing of a pernicious moral orientation that calls into question the role of churches, mosques, the family and formal education  in the spiritual well-being of the nation. What about the responsibility of the political leadership at all levels of society? A situation whereby those that should normally be seen as role models are the very ones engaging in acts of bestiality and incestuous liaisons, not to mention a disturbing tolerance of sleaze and unlawful conduct  on their part, is a powerful incentive for the kind of hedonism that is on display in the bars and  pepper soup joints of the country these days. Also, in Nigeria and much of Africa , the relative paucity of cultural models or voices that should help modulate the direction of our music or artistic forms has contributed to the creation of a fertile ground for unconventional sub-genres. When our media houses spend so much time and energy promoting sordid and prurient foreign pornographers and other dubious characters in the name of music festivals, their notions of decency and culture must be considered suspect. In its Nigerian or Ivorian manifestation, Mapouka is indicative of a wider moral  rot within African  societies. It is symptomatic of the state of  creeping anomie our societies are confronted with nowadays. It is feared that this grim reality of Mapouka and its attendant ills is feeding the AIDS pandemic on the continent. In a sense, Mapouka is a metaphor for life in Africa today, a snap-shot of the existence of precariousness and savagery much of the local populations have been reduced to after decades of vicious military dictatorships, incompetent civilian tyrannies and harsh IMF/World Bank impositions backed by callous representatives of alien governments and their African collaborators.  


It is worth mentioning  that Mapouka is first and foremost a traditional dance  form. Its origins are said to be in a small Ivory Coast village called Nigui Saff, about thirty kilometers from Abidjan .  It is the traditional dance of the Ahizi ethnic group. It is remarkable that traditional Mapouka was crowned the best cultural dance in South Africa in 1999. The Nigui Saff K Dance is an Abidjan-based company dedicated to the promotion of traditional Mapouka. Its director, Dr. Bernard Pitt├ę, balks at the idea that the venerated music of his ancestors has been "expropriated" and transformed into a vulgar, if popular vehicle for the transmission of indecency and self-denigration. In an interview with, Pitt├ę said in 2003 that his dance group would work together with the Ivoirian Centre for Arts and Culture (Centre national des arts at de la culture, CNAC) in the promotion and rehabilitation of the original Mapouka. "Nous avons une convention de partenariat au terme duquel le groupe Nigui Saff K Dance et le CNAC, qui regroupe des experts nationaux en th├ę├ótre, cin├ęma et audiovisuel, doivent tourner des films et des clips pour faire la promotion du mapouka originel ┬╗. From  the look of things, it is safe to say that traditional Mapouka is losing out in favour of its urban rival. It is my contention that the recent conflicts that are tearing the delicate fibre of Ivorian society are potent ingredients responsible for the moral void which, if care is not taken, may prove fatal, not just to Pitt├ę's Mapouka, but also  other communal values. Compared to the traditional or original version,  "modern" Mapouka, the perverse, smut-laden genre that is engendering a lot of brouhaha wherever it goes, is os├ę and hardcore. It is the type with apparently a huge fan base, especially amongst urban and young audiences. These days, when one talks of Mapouka, one is more often than not referring to this pop variant. Ivorian Mapouka music groups include, amongst others, Magic System, Les Tueuses de Mapouka, Espoir 2000 and Meiway. An important question to ask is if beyond the "modernity"/ "traditionalism" dichotomy, there is  a yet to be defined force, aesthetic or otherwise, sustaining the apparent Mapouka craze.


The various governments across the continent need to put in place measures aimed at curbing those indecent acts or displays associated with Mapouka and other obviously demeaning shows. As for the pornographic elements in Mapouka and other adult  DVDs or films, official censors of the continent must act to repress the menace. Only the other day,  a cross-section of mothers in Abuja was interviewed by a Nigerian daily and the overwhelming position amongst the women was for a more purposeful crackdown by the police against the unbridled hawking of pornographic products in the streets and shops of the Nigerian capital. So far, Kano state seems to be in the forefront of enforcing its censorship laws regarding pornography and other indecent manifestations. The relevant levels of government should enact legislation that protects the dignity of the person against the purveyors of toxic filth in this Internet Age. Africa should be able to entertain itself (and the rest of the world) without descending into the pits of self-debasement. Surely, we cannot allow ourselves to be culturally defined through these degenerate art forms. And above all, our outrage should of necessity be directed against those figures or influences whose  abdication and lack of exemplary conduct have greatly contributed toward the generalized lack of redeeming values our societies are grappling with today.


Aonduna Tondu

New York


P.S. Mapouka through images:



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Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Ebe posted on 03-10-2008, 23:28:48 PM
Yes, this Mapouka problem is a serious one. It's all over the place now, sold in open markets in broad daylight and in the full glare of the underaged.

It is only a matter of time before there is a Nigerian spin-off. Already, I understand that a parallel Nigerian pornographic universe enjoys a vibrant undergound flourishing.

Personally, I am not in favor of legislating against free expression of sexuality. And the talk about cultural prohibition is pedestrian because it assumes wrongly that cultures are static or that the cultural and the moral are necessarily coextensive.

Even my faith abhores the subversion of the individual's will, consent, and freedom. The concept of choice is central to Christianity, which is for me one of its biggest attractions. So, I don't see morality as a matter of public policy, but of the individual's convictions. I have strong moral convictions founded on my faith and upbringing. If other ADULTS want to carry out what I consider immoral, that's their business and they are accountable to God and their conscience. But it is not for the state to intrude into their sexual province in the name of some overarching cultural imperative.

That is why the only persuasive case against this sudden pornographic blossoming and the only tolerable legislative intervention should be premised on the fact that underaged people lacking the capacity for informed consent are being exposed to it and that we should do what is necessary to quarantine it strictly within adult circles.
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Ochi Dabari posted on 03-11-2008, 04:34:09 AM
AIDS will take care of everything, Aonduna. I grew up at a time that Nigeria was relatively quiet, sexually. There were prostitutes quite okay but it was rare for other people to be sleeping around, particularly in the rural areas. Then, everything changed and prostitutes became more daring; younger people went into it, not just the odd lady who married but was unable to conceive. It progressed to people in the rural areas becoming more open, holding hands and hugging in public. Then, gbam, HIV arrived, and we thought it was a European disease, until people began to fall right in front of us. Gradually, things began to quieten down again but soon, the shame associated with a family member dying of AIDS began to wane and things like the Mapouka will heat the polity (sorry, the crotch) again. Something or the other will stop it. Legislation will not be able to: laws are made to be broken, but something will definitely stop the Mapouka.

It bothers me about how Nigeria assimilates things. My children do not watch most of the VCDs that I brought back from Nigeria. They are too graphic at times, be it in the arena of voodoo or sexuality, but children in Nigeria watch them on a daily basis. There is no classification or parental control whatsoever. Apart from Nollywood, everyone was watching CNN, BBC, etc and no local TV. Even the so-called private local TV stations show more of foreign content. Nigeria is doomed.


Af...[URL=]Read the full article.[/URL]
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
MrOneNaija posted on 03-11-2008, 07:11:33 AM

Ebe 2 and Ochi Dabari,

Thanks for your remarks.

Let me seize this opportunity to apologize to those who might have accessed my article earlier and found that its form did not follow a logical sequence. The summary, for instance, was put as the introductory paragraph of the document in question! This was a publishing error. I am glad to announce that the error has now been rectified. The corrected text is now available to readers.

Ebe 2, I believe that your undue emphasis on what you mistakenly think should be the primacy of individual rights regarding this Mapouka pestilence is a recipe for anarchy. It is trite to say that no freedoms are absolute. Freedoms come with responsibilities. Also, where the expression of individual freedoms clashes with the interests and welfare of the larger community, individual freedoms should give way to communal rights.

Beyond the imperative to protect impressionable young minds from the smut associated with Mapouka, there is the need to see the latter in its perverse form as a moral issue of assault against human dignity. No decent community should tolerate the self-debasement and other degrading acts that one sees on display during Mapouka shows (Please see link at the end of my article), whether or not such shows are accessible to underage or adult audiences. Every society enacts rules or legislation that seeks to uphold its cherished values. And when the reckless pursuit of so-called individual rights and freedoms clashes with those cherished common values, there should be punitive sanctions against violators. There is nothing pedestrian about that. The argument about culture being dynamic as opposed to it being conceived as something static should not be used as a facile pretext for societal recklessness and irresponsibility. Cultural dynamism is not synonymous with depravity. A culture can evolve while maintaining sanity and decent moral precepts as core values.

And regarding the question whether or not culture can be legislated, let me just say that as a civilized society, we may not be able to adequately legislate culture but we can and should provide a legal framework for dealing at all times with unacceptable transgressions or assaults on those values we cherish and uphold as a community of rational beings that puts maximum premium on the dignity of the person.
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Denker posted on 03-11-2008, 08:25:02 AM
MrOneNaija, dey make gragra too much..wetin you dey look for at dat sites with all dis amoral pictures..if you can't live with them(Mapouka..etc)..i go give you options:

- do not watch them
- go and live in saudi-arabia,...islamishe states, etc
- better, jump from any tallest building you can find on dis earth..kill yourself! go and hang yourself..i command you, useless creature..non-sense!
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Eja posted on 03-11-2008, 09:47:51 AM
MrOneNaija, this is outrageous, disgusting to the tenth degree, even nauseating. Sodom and Gomorrah sinned less before they tasted the wrath of the fire god. I have spent a few appalled hours looking (while naked) at the pictures provided in the linked site. Thank you very much sah.

But I would be able to feel even more outraged if I could actually see those juicy bubbles in live action...gyrating and what not...horrors!! Please, could you provide a link to a site where I could peruse videos of aforesaid gyrating female posterior bubbles? Strictly in the interests of enforcing morality of course.

I will look, I might even take myself in hand but I assure you, I will not enjoy it.

Thanking you in advance.....
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Overdryv posted on 03-11-2008, 10:37:55 AM

It is too late in the day to think that anything could be done to stem the descent of out youth into immorality. It becomes laughable to think that mapouka VCDs with half-clad women are being sold when our youths down load full blown porn from the internet. You are rather late on arrival. Cultures like every other thing on earth is dynamic. Gone are the days when it was a taboo for a woman to be on top while the "show" lasts or when once a woman takes in, the man would never go near her.
If you research very well, you'd be surprised to see that all the so-called immoral vices associated with the west are right by our door. There are festivals in Kenya and Nigeria where people are allowed to have sex with any woman. What happens in Kenya is almost akin to swinging when people gather in a river and people could have group fun. In Namibia, there is a tribe, the Hambari, not too sure of the spelling, where women marry many husbands. The women who are mostly cattlerarers could have different men whenever they are in a new grazing location.
For you to think that stopping Mapouka could cure all immoral acts in our society is like descending into the stone age. Most of our young women go into prostitution because of government criminal neglect. This must form your point of focus.
I have thanked Denker for his comments but withdrew on account of asking you to jump off NITEL building. I thought that was too harsh.
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Godwin posted on 03-11-2008, 11:11:21 AM
Mapouka has been popular in Nigeria for over 10 years and I doubt that you are just realising it.

It became popular shortly after the "Makossa' Soukous explosion in Nigerian Music.

Talking about dynamic African Culture, the Wodaabe of Rep. of Niger have a Male Beauty Contest (Gerewol) where the women pick the most handsome men for a night of love as a reward in spite of the Islamic religion.

Niger's dandy Gerewol festival
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Kabikala posted on 03-11-2008, 11:13:39 AM
I love your analysis and I agree completely with them.

All adults should have the freedom to view what they want to, once it does not harm anyone. And like you rightly said too, the under-aged should not be exposed to such pornographic materials.

I just have this feeling that many of those who want legislations against what they consider obscene and immoral (by their own standards) are mostly hypocrites.
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Denker posted on 03-11-2008, 11:30:50 AM
I have thanked Denker for his comments but withdrew on account of asking you to jump off NITEL building. I thought that was too harsh.

hi overdryv, my dear!

am least perturbed, am enraged cuz after MrOneNaija had used the pictorial illustrations at dat site as one big Masturbation Template he revised to deprive us of the same jollification and pleasure...

Creatures like MrOneNaija manage to survive their lives, but they'll like to live our lives for us....i didn't ask dat man for a permission to come to the earth and i'll not ask him for permission to depart therefrom, too!... and let live, dats all i ask for!
Re: The Shocking phenomenon called Nigerian Mapouka
Overdryv posted on 03-11-2008, 12:56:47 PM
hi overdryv, my dear!

am least perturbed, am enraged cuz after MrOneNaija had used the pictorial illustrations at dat site as one big Masturbation Template he revised to deprive us of the same jollification and pleasure...

Creatures like MrOneNaija manage to survive their lives, but they'll like to live our lives for us....i didn't ask dat man for a permission to come to the earth and i'll not ask him for permission to depart therefrom, too!... and let live, dats all i ask for!


I seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What does MrOne Naija expect you to do with all those Ivoirian Mapouka videos in your library? Throw them away just like like? Well if I were you I'd insist on full compensation from him. I saw the link he provided, believe me, those are just innocent pics one could display in a catholic mass. The real hardcore Mapouka videos are in other links but I wont give them for the sake of his preachments. I prefer to pretend that he hasnt seen them.
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