Felwine Sarr and Etienne Minougou
Traces – Speech to African Nations

21 September 2022

Based on the Senegalese academic, philosopher, and poet Felwine Sarr, this lyrical text is captivatingly performed by Burkinabe actor Etienne Minoungou as an inspiring and imaginative storyteller speaking to his African brothers. Infused with the cultural and historical experiences of the continent, Traces is a way to bring Felwine Sarr’s philosophy to a younger African generation, emboldening them to build a new utopia. With uplifting accompaniment by musician Simon Winsé on the kora, the speech is an invitation to sow the seeds for a better future.

Traces – Speech to African Nations is presented as part of the Crossing The Line Festival, produced by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF).

Image by Veronique Vercheval



Born in 1968 in Koupéla, Burkina Faso, Etienne Minoungou is an actor, author, director, playwright and cultural entrepreneur. His studies in sociology, theater and literature led him to work first as an instructor and an artist. As an actor, he has appeared in many plays, films and television series. His recent work includes Petit Frère by Léonor Serraille, presented at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022. He founded the Falinga Company in Ouagadougou in 2000, and in 2002, he initiated the pan-African festival Les Récréâtrales. In December 2018, at the inauguration of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Etienne Minoungou presented for the first time the show Traces – Speech to African Nations, a text by Felwine Sarr. He won the prize for best actor (2020-21 season) at the 58th Prize of the Syndicat des Professionnels de la Critique in France for his performance in this show.

Simon Winsé is a multi-instrumentalist (Kora, N’Goni, Mouth Bow, Peul Flute), composer, and singer. His musical universe is nourished by jazz fusion, blues, rock, and traditional music of the San country in the northwest of Burkina Faso, where he is originally from. It is in his native village that Simon Winsé, as a child, learned to play the mouthbow. Resolutely turned towards interculturality and modernity, Winsé reveals his poetic writing with texts that resonate like philosophical tales. By resurrecting the heritage of the Samo culture, Winsé demonstrates that traditional African instruments and modern music are not antinomic. 

Felwine Sarr is a Senegalese academic, writer, and musician. Since 2020, he has taught contemporary African and diasporic philosophy at Duke University. His academic work focuses on the ecology of knowledge, contemporary African philosophy, economic policy, epistemology, economic anthropology, and the history of religious ideas. With Senegalese writers Boubacar Boris Diop and Nafissatou Dia, he is the co-founder of the publishing house, Jimsaan. Felwine Sarr makes literature a vital necessity, a work of light and freedom. In 2022, he published Les lieux qu’habitent mes rêves, a meditative and initiatory novel.


Traces – Speech to African Nations is presented as part of the Crossing The Line Festival, produced by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). FIAF is the leading French language and cultural center in the US, dedicated to innovative programming in education and the arts, all exploring the evolving diversity and richness of French and Francophone cultures.

The tour of Traces – Speech to African Nations by Felwine Sarr by is possible with the support of FACE Contemporary Theater, a program of Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from The Ford Foundation, Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors.