Loss is a recurring theme throughout the album, with Vidou-H’s own track ‘Kweni’ addressing his family’s anguish in the wake of his father’s passing. Coining the genre Fefeblues, an ode to his father’s local dialect, Vidou-H says the process of making this song allowed him to articulate his grief. Composed through a freestyle rather than written, Vidou-H’s process mimics the mourning process; an ebb through different emotions before the ultimate outpour. “That day I was really thinking about my dad, so, the mood was melancholic,” he recalls. “Sometimes you can be with people, and then they leave, and it’s like boom - the melancholy can spread all over your space. So, I remember that day was a bit like that. When the last person left, I just felt it hit me - and I had the beat and melody in front of me, and I could hear the voice of my mother singing ‘Oh Kweni-oh’ - So I just pressed record and started singing.”
Douala, a city of almost six million, is the commercial capital of Cameroon, boasting a thriving industry, a major port and Central Africa’s largest airport. However, it’s also home to poverty and deprivation: the city’s ghettos are regularly subjected to police raids, afflicted by drug addiction and are hampered by a glorification of crime that normalises incarceration. “Going back to the ghettos, going back to the street, going back to your old life, it’s all you know,” says Vidou-H. “Most of these people grew up in prison; they are just going in and out all the time. I saw people that did 4 sentences back-to-back.” This cyclical loop is aided by the stigma attached to any currently or formerly incarcerated person in Douala. “Once someone knows you went to jail, you’re marginalised,” he adds. “So, what are you going to do? You’re going to return to your old demons. You think, yeah, I don’t belong in this world, my world is the ghetto”.
When Vidou-H refers to the programme as an instrument of resistance, it is this sense of entrapment and eternal marginalisation that he is speaking to. Whilst the programme offers a sense of immediate escape from the prisoners confined existence, it goes further in carving a different image of the future; an image of one’s potential beyond their crimes. “We did this programme to make people more aware - it’s all about education. In Western countries you’re already wealthy, you’re not struggling to eat. The general perception is not interested in helping ex-prisoners, they’re just trying to get by.”’ This independence is something that feels distinct to Vidou-H’s character, a self-reliance that perhaps arises from a continual lack of support by formal institutions.