Maloba Congo Colombia


The Council provided support for Colombia’s cultural mission to Brazzaville to strengthen diplomatic and cultural ties with the Republic of Congo. Personnel from the Embassy of Colombia in Kenya traveled to Brazzaville with the aim of positioning Colombia’s foreign policy work in Africa.

Pan-African Council representatives Mr Godfre Bayalama and Mr Rudy Massamba, two Congolese natives resident in the USA, prepared a strategic proposal to facilitate the Colombian delegation’s visit to the Republic of Congo from April 27 to May 7, 2023.

The proposed itinerary aimed to help Colombian dignitaries from the Embassy of Colombia in Kenya build and foster relationships with essential Congolese cultural, political, and environmental actors. Historically, Congo has been one of Africa’s most prominent cultural and creative hubs. Its capital Brazzaville witnessed the birth of Congolese Rumba – a soulful African sound heavily influenced by Cuban Son that took over the continent and later influenced Colombian Champeta music.

The visit to Brazzaville was in the context of the Maloba Theater, Dance and Circus Festival; an international cultural exchange event where storytellers from all over the world, equipped with their words (theatre), their bodies (dance) and their imagination (circus) speak about the current world.

The festival aims to establish cultural links and propose dialogues between the artistic traditions of the Congolese and foreigners within dynamic structures of exchange and creativity. The Afro-Colombian artistic dance group Sankofa Danzafro, which has become a catalyst for relations between Colombia in Africa, participated in the festival as part of Colombia’s broad cultural agenda for engagement with the African continent. Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the meeting and agenda set forth by PAC Representative Rudy Oba Apounou Massamba.

Abbreviated Biographies

Rudy Oba Apounou Massamba is a democracy assistance expert with an extensive track record in empowering grassroots civil society organizations and movements. He worked for close to a decade at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he spearheaded grant-making strategy and managed grants programs for nine countries spread across West, Central, and Southern Africa. Rudy launched his international development career at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University, and a M.S. in International Affairs from
Florida State University. A proponent of South-South cooperation, Rudy is fluent in French and possesses advanced Portuguese language skills.

Godfre Bayalama is a New York-based public servant and political operative. He serves as Chief of Staff for New York State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie, a democrat, and fierce advocate for strengthening democracy, improving New York’s criminal legal systems, and holding gun manufacturers accountable for the scourge of gun violence. As a senior advisor to the Senator, Godfre oversaw the passage of the landmark John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, the strongest voting rights law in the United States. Godfre worked in senior roles as a political operative for several campaigns for local, state, and federal offices. Most notably, in 2021, as Campaign manager, he helped elect Crystal Hudson as one of the first out-gay Black women to the New York City Council. Godfre is a native of the Republic of Congo who has lived in Africa, Europe, and the Americas. He is fluent in Kikongo, French, English, Italian, and Lingala. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from New York University. Godfre is passionate about soccer, Congolese Rumba, and video games outside of work.