Sidiki Conde celebrates a walking living miracle

MISANI Special to the AmNews | 4/5/2013, 10:52 a.m.
"I am a Muslim. I believe God! Whatever I have today is because God purposed...
Sidiki Conde celebrates a walking living miracle

Later in the day, Conde makes his way to a private home where he and fellow musician/dancer Ibrahima Camara conduct a dance-and-drum workshop for children with disabilities. In addition to the various traditional and contemporary African art forms, he incorporates storytelling and teaches the history and geography of the continent to the children.

"You learn from me; I learn from you," he tells his young students during the workshop Later reflecting about the class, the master artist shares: "I was so happy with the kids because they are feeling what I'm feeling. When I teach children, it's sharing what you know. You have to represent yourself," says the African immigrant, who during his early days in New York, survived on $10 for three weeks.

"It was hard to make it. I did not go to school. No education," says Conde of his life in Guinea after getting polio. One of his major dreams is to build a school for the disabled in Guinea, where as a young man, he worked at AJAFREIS, the National Association of the Republic of Guinea for the Handicapped, to develop programs to help his countrymen and women with disabilities gain job skills. Recalling his early days in New York, he says, "It was very hard. Very hard, [but] it taught me how to make it." Conde describes life as being "sometimes happy" and "sometimes miserable," yet he accepts both as something that is "one's path."

"Day by day, I've been making my life in New York City," says the courageous Conde. "I play music to forget my disability." And so he encourages his students by saying, "If I can do it, you can do it!" The master musician and highly respected dancer has done just that in Govenar's timely and moving film, "You Don't Need Feet To Dance," which triumphantly celebrates the great artist and humanitarian, who, despite his disability, is a walking, living miracle.

"Africa Sings," which pays tribute to Africa's art of the highest caliber, is honored to have as its host Femi Kuti, the acclaimed Afrobeat icon, whose new album, "No Place For My Dreams" is scheduled to be released in April. "Moonlit Windows" takes an insightful look at the lives of spirited, life-changing men and women living extraordinary lives in their quest of what it means to be human in the 21st century.