Bodé Owa is an actor, dancer and director from Mechelen with Nigerian roots. In more than 20 years on stage, he has participated in plays such as Negrociations and flemish TV series like Spoed, De Kampioenen and Flikken. As a musician, he played with a.o. Brassafrik and the Belgian Afro Beat Association. At MetX, he is co-artistic coordinator of the multidisciplinary ensemble Bakanaï, together with Laurent Blondiau.
Bodé Owa grew up in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. His father (a lawyer) and mother (working in the army) wanted him to become a lawyer. But Bodé saw it differently. He dreamt of becoming an artist and left for Belgium when he was 22. He ended up in Mechelen in the early 90s, where he studied dance and music at the conservatory. Afterwards, he also taught at the higher institute for dance in Lier.
In his career as an actor and musician, Bodé has regularly had to deal with institutional racism. “The heroes of Western culture remain white and classical. They don’t know black heroes here. I am often told: ‘We will contact you if we want to do something about Africa’. Theatres mainly want black people to perform in paternalistic plays about the good old days in the Congo. I don’t participate in those anymore, even though it costs me commissions and my projects are often rejected.”
In 2018, he creates Negrociations, an energetic performance with theatre, dance and music. Together with the Surinamese actress and singer Michline Plukker and Benin trumpeter Eric Yovogan, he brings a powerful, social reportage in monologues and dialogues, movements and his own songs. With sometimes light, but sometimes also very dark humour. At the end of 2019 the theatre piece inspires him to write the eponymous collection of poems Intimate Negrociations. Through short stories, poems and musings, Bodé searches for the soul of equality and freedom and how it feels to be black in this world.
Interview Bodé Owa in De Wereld Morgen