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Friday, December 12, 2014

World Debut of "Boomerang" - A One-Women Show

Award-winning actress and playwright, Anita Woodley, presents her newest work "Boomerang", tracing her transformation as she struggles with racism and sexism in the workplace, discovers herself through DNA testing, and finds a new career in the arts.
In 2010, Anita reunited with the Tikar tribe in Cameroon, Africa, a meeting with her mother’s heritage.  There, Anita became Princess Bekang, or “boomerang”, in the Chiefdom of the rainforest’s N'ditam Tikar Village. Following the performance, Anita Woodley is joined by Ancestry360 genealogist Demetrius Hunter and they share valuable tools to trace family history in the states and abroad.
At the World Debut of Boomerang on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the Durham County Main Library in Durham, North Carolina, the performance was received with a standing ovation. The following is feedback from audience members:
  • “Off the charts—brilliant!” 
  • “Loved it!” 
  • “Thank you, Anita Woodley, for Sunday's gift at the Durham Library. You truly gave us yourself - with openness and honesty and humor. Hallelujah! I am a 73-year-old white, southern Democrat, a person painfully aware that some of my ancestors may have owned some of yours.”
  • “We need More performances programs like this one.”
  •  “Always enjoyable!”
  • “Excellent, thanks you for having it.”
  •  “The best this year!”
  •  “Incredible!”
  • “This was one of the best of all the programs you have had.”
  • “This was terrific!”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My First letter received from N'Ditam

 Hear me read my first letter from Djemble Idrissou, a member of my Tikar Tribe in the Cameroon rain forest....
LOVE IT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnRhyiyRPKA 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1-23-2011 Phone call to Tikar Family in Cameroun

I am speaking with Tousmi who's from my Tikar village in N'Ditam. Although I only know 51 Tikar words and a few in French we worked it out. The duration of the call was 20 minutes with mostly use repeating what we thought we heard LOL! It was well worth it ... ENJOY! Usoko Mah Jo Jo, Bekang!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Photo Just In!

Photos of me dancing with the Pygmy's during my naming ceremony on June 27, 2010!
 I call this dance that I made up, "Capturing The Ancestor Ghost.:" 
I was working moves you cannot learn in any African Dance class for real! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Listen to My Public Radio Interview - Traveling To N'Ditam [Aired 10.18.2010]

Hear all about my Africa trip on WUNC-FM that aired Worldwide!

LISTEN to Anita's story

You'll also hear the story of a Cameroonian Doctor named Dr. Georges Bwelle, who operated on dozens of villagers during my visit. He was honored as a CNN Hero in 2014.

Dr. Georges Bwelle works in Cameroon, West Africa. He has a day job, but on the weekend he heads into the bush with a rented van and medical supplies to do surgeries for people in remote villages. The Story producer Anita “Bekang” Woodley was in Cameroon this past  summer, with a tape recorder, looking for her own ancestral village when she happened upon the doctor by chance. Today, we’ll hear Anita’s story of returning to her village, and Dr. Georges' story of bringing health care to rural Africans. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dancing with my 110-year old Tikar Elder

One of my favorite moments in my Tikar village located in N'Ditam was dancing with an 110-year-old elder in an outside hut. After we danced he sat down and told me of a time when he was 8, and white men came to our village to borrow workers. The chief agreed to let them go to earn money. The people of the village had no idea they'd never return. He told me that this happened many times before he was born and thought his years growing up.

He then told me words that will forever stay in my heart through translation, "You were stolen so do not feel bad about not being here. You were stolen from us and we are glad to have you back home. You are like a ghost that has finally come home. It has been so long."

It was at that moment that I had arrived Honey!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Monents After My Naming Ceremony

After My Naming Ceremony - The Chief named me Princess Bekang. Bekang means "Boomerang" to go and to come back. I became the first African-American since enslavement to return to the Tikar Village.When it becomes available I will post video of the ceremony that includes me dancing with the pygmy people in the courtyard.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


After I received my name I got one of the best hugs I've had in a long time. The last person that let me cry on their shirt was my Mama on her hospital bed.


An Essay - Anita's Eyewitness Account of Surgery in the Rainforest village N'Ditam of Cameroon

Shot, Edited and Produced by
Anita Woodley

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

University of Yaounde I Visit -- June 24, 2010

Traduction française ci-dessous 
University of Yaounde I Visit -- June 24, 2010
by 'rie Shontel AKA Anita S. Woodley

On June 24, 2010, I was fortunate to be invited by Dr. Bole via certified letter to visit the University of Yaounde in Cameroon and teach improvisational techniques to theatre students. There were many students present and a few faculty members to witness my work.

In a brief presentation totaling 20 minutes, I told the students about my life as an African-American in the U.S. and I informed them of how I performed many shows to raise enough money to visit them in Africa. Part of that talk included information about my profession in the USA as a public radio producer and I answered questions from the audience about Americans impressions of African people.

To see the entire presentation go to these links:
(Part One) 

Part 1 - Presention Univeristy of Yaounde

(Part Two) 

Part 2 - Presention Univeristy of Yaounde

(Part Three)

Part 3 - Presention Univeristy of Yaounde

This was my first time leaving the United States. A few years ago our family traced our maternal DNA back to the Tikar Tribe in Cameroon. I must admit that I never imagined I'd be invited to Cameroon where I'd meet my tribe and teach the acting techniques I have learned through the years. I was very delighted about all the African males in higher education for in American we were not taught that Black men were intelligent and capable of magnificent things, especially higher education. Please note, that this was my experience in the impoverished East Oakland, California neighborhood that I grew up in. There are African-Americans who are taught otherwise and reach higher education. However, in my neigborhood I had never met any males who had this experience.

The students were very inquisitive and informed about their chosen educational fields. They were also very receptive to what I had to say and had a vibrant outlook on their futures. Since the presentation I have remained in contact with various student via social media. I have also made good on promises to assist students on their blogs and other artistic ventures.

While I prepared for the trip, many African-Americans I know expressed that they were nervous for me traveling to Africa "alone"." They wondered, "What if you are not accepted? And how about if they do not speak your language?" I was happy to report to them when I returned home that the students at the University were very accepting and we were able to have our conversations translated, so we understood one another well.

After my brief presentation we went to have lunch at a local eatery. When we returned to the University of Yaounde I, I taught a workshop on Improvisational Techniques. To begin the workshop I played theatre games to warm our bodies up for the workshop. We stretched and played a games called, "Zoom, zap" where students pointed their fingers at one another as quickly as they can without repeating the same phrase. We all laughed and hugged as this game was really hilarious. We also tried a game where we created a time machine with spooky scenes including zombies and more. 

Next, I broke down my one-woman show "Mama Juggs: Three Generations Healing Negative Body Images" scene by scene and showed the students how I put it together. I started by walked around the classroom and asking each students name in my 100 year-old Great-Grandmother's character voice. Due to my luggage being lost at the airport, I was not able to use props and the students all commented that they were impressed that I could portray an100-years-old without props. I then looked outside the window and started improvising the actions of passersby and a vendor who was selling Orange phone credits. I even mimicked a women we saw while walking to lunch who was selling corn that she was roasting on a tire rim and fanning with a paper plate.
During the presentation of my Mama Juggs show, while I played my mother's character who died of Breast Cancer at 47 years old, one of the presentation goers cried  and had to leave the room. Another attendee shared that a family member was ill and they wanted to do a show about them. I encouraged them and we exchanged information in hopes that we will share our work and I can assist them in some fashion in the future.

At the conclusion of my workshop, I shared a copy of more than 30 memorization techniques with the professor Emelda to Xerox for students and we took photos together. While taking the photos we all yelled the word "Grandma!" because they really loved my great-grandmaother's character. She would have been proud to know that her legacy lives on through them.
You can see us taking photos at these two links: 
To conclude the trip, we went to Dr. Bole's Office and I informed him of how grateful I was for the opportunity to visit Cameroon under his invitation and the help of Dr. Martin. I also expressed a great desire to return someday and work with student through social media from the USA to talk about Theatre Arts.

The next leg of my trip took me to my family's village in N' ditiam. Information and guidance provided by Issa Nyaphaga and a private tour of artwork by the Tikar people facilitated by Dr. Martin Elouga helped make this trip one of a lifetime. The images below are from moments I shared with the people of Cameroon. I hope to visit in the future and present again to the students and my village.

You can see the report from my co-presentors Michel Paulie and Chanceline at this link http://sokolo.cronopios.org/yaounde_tikar1.php

Université de Yaoundé I Visite - 24 Juin, 2010

Le 24 Juin 2010, j'ai eu la chance d'être invité par le Dr Bole par lettre recommandée à visiter l'Université de Yaoundé au Cameroun et enseigner les techniques d'improvisation aux étudiants de théâtre. Il y avait beaucoup d'étudiants présents et quelques membres du corps professoral pour assister à mon travail.Dans une brève présentation totalisant 20 minutes, j'ai dit aux étudiants de ma vie comme un afro-américain aux États-Unis et je les ai informés de la façon dont j'ai joué de nombreux spectacles de soulever assez d'argent pour leur rendre visite en Afrique. Une partie de ce parler inclus des informations sur mon métier aux Etats-Unis en tant que producteur public de radio et j'ai répondu aux questions de l'auditoire sur les impressions des Américains de la population africaine.Pour voir toute la présentation aller à ces liens:(Première partie)(Deuxième partie)(Troisième partie)

Ce fut ma première fois de quitter les États-Unis. Il ya quelques années notre famille retracé notre ADN maternel retour à la tribu des Tikar du Cameroun.Je dois admettre que je n'ai jamais imaginé que je serais invité au Cameroun où je rencontrerais ma tribu et d'enseigner les techniques de jeu que j'ai appris au fil des ans. J'ai été très heureux de tous les hommes d'origine africaine dans l'enseignement supérieur à l'américaine nous n'avons pas appris que les hommes noirs étaient intelligents et capables de choses magnifiques, notamment l'enseignement supérieur. S'il vous plaît noter que ce fut mon expérience dans le pauvre Oakland Est, quartier de la Californie que j'ai grandi po Il ya les Afro-Américains qui sont enseignées autrement et parvenir à l'enseignement supérieur. Toutefois, à mon neigborhood je n'avais jamais rencontré aucun mâle qui a eu cette expérience.

Les élèves étaient très curieux et informés de leur choix domaines de l'éducation. Ils ont également été très réceptifs à ce que j'avais à dire et avait une vision dynamique de leur avenir. Depuis la présentation, je suis resté en contact avec des élèves différents via les réseaux sociaux. J'ai aussi fait les promesses d'aider les étudiants sur leurs blogs et d'autres projets artistiques.Alors que je me préparais pour le voyage, beaucoup d'Afro-Américains que je connais ont fait savoir qu'ils étaient nerveux pour moi de voyager à l'Afrique "seul". "Ils se demandent," Que faire si vous ne sont pas acceptés? Et que diriez-vous si elles ne parlent pas votre langue? "J'ai été heureux de leur rendre compte quand je suis rentré que les étudiants de l'Université ont été très ouverts et nous avons pu avoir nos conversations traduit, nous nous comprenions bien.

Après ma brève présentation, nous sommes allés déjeuner dans un restaurant local. Lorsque nous sommes retournés à l'Université de Yaoundé I, j'ai enseigné un atelier sur les techniques d'improvisation. Pour commencer l'atelier, j'ai joué à des jeux de théâtre pour réchauffer notre corps pour l'atelier. Nous étiré et a joué un jeux appelé, "Zoom, zap» où les étudiants ont pointé leurs doigts l'un l'autre aussi vite qu'ils le peuvent, sans répéter la même phrase. Nous avons tous ri et étreint que ce jeu était vraiment hilarant.Nous avons aussi essayé un jeu où nous avons créé une machine de temps avec des scènes fantasmagoriques y compris les zombies et plus.
Ensuite, j'ai craqué mon one-woman show "Mama Juggs: Trois générations de guérison images négatives du corps" scène par scène et a montré aux élèves comment je l'ai mis ensemble. J'ai commencé par le tour de la salle de classe et en demandant le nom de chaque élèves de mon 100 voix d'un personnage ans Grande-grand-mère. En raison de mes bagages sont perdus à l'aéroport, je n'ai pas été en mesure d'utiliser les accessoires et les étudiants ont tous souligné qu'ils ont été impressionnés que je pourrais présenter AN100-ans sans accessoires. J'ai alors regardé dehors de la fenêtre et a commencé à improviser les actions des passants et un vendeur qui a été la vente de crédits de téléphone Orange. J'ai même imité des femmes, nous avons vu lors de la marche à déjeuner qui a été la vente de maïs qu'elle faisait rôtir sur une jante et en l'éventant avec une assiette en carton.

Lors de la présentation de ma maman Juggs voir, pendant que je jouais caractère de ma mère qui est décédé du cancer du sein à 47 ans, l'un des amateurs de la présentation a pleuré et a dû quitter la salle. Un autre participant partagée qu'un membre de la famille était malade et qu'ils voulaient faire un spectacle à leur sujet. Je les ai encouragés et nous avons échangé des informations dans l'espoir que nous allons partager notre travail et je peux les aider en quelque sorte à l'avenir.
À la fin de mon atelier, j'ai partagé une copie de plus de 30 techniques de mémorisation avec le professeur Emelda à Xerox pour les étudiants et nous avons pris des photos ensemble. Tout en prenant les photos nous avons tous crié le mot «grand-mère!" parce qu'ils ont vraiment aimé le caractère de mon arrière-grand-grandmaother de. Elle aurait été fier de savoir que son héritage lui survivra à travers eux.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Regrade to Upgrade

Regrade to Upgrade
by 'rie Shontel AKA Anita S. Woodley

Lack of Infrastructure
Preventable Diseases
Illiteracy... suffered on any level in this day and age are absurd!

Yet, and still, our souls are not coiled by such.
Memories of my people, our history still emotes through art.

Art is our future's bones.
Art stabilizes the fat of our success.

Impoverished mentally no more I'm hold my own shadow.
I'm committed to regrade in order to upgrade my soul.
Because we are never our situation.

Learn about Musa Heritage Gallery: The Grass-fields Museum in NW Cameroon

Regrade de mise à niveaupar «rie Shontel AKA Anita S. Woodley
DégradationManque d'infrastructureMaladies évitablesLa pauvretéLa faimL'analphabétisme ... souffert sur tous les niveaux en ce jour et l'âge sont absurdes!
Pourtant, et encore, nos âmes ne sont pas enroulées par exemple.Les souvenirs de mon peuple, notre histoire emotes encore à travers l'art.

L'art est notre futur os.Art stabilise la graisse de notre succès.
Appauvris mentalement pas plus que je tiens ma propre ombre.Je me suis engagé à reclasser dans le but de mettre à niveau mon âme.Parce que nous ne sommes jamais notre situation.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

- Mark Twain

By: 'rie shontel

I'm excited about having an opportunity to learn about another interpretation of life.
Although I've only heard my tribe on paper,
my soul's ear still leans forward,
curved with compassion,
and ready for their palms to gently salve my wax-less drums of curiosity.

"Voyage est fatal à préjugés, le fanatisme et l'étroitesse d'esprit, et beaucoup de nos gens en ont besoin cruellement sur ces comptes. Broad, saine, des vues de bienfaisance d'hommes et de choses ne peuvent être acquis par végéter dans un petit coin de la terre tous ses durée de vie. "- Mark Twain
INTERPRETATIONPar: «shontel rie Je suis heureux d'avoir l'occasion de découvrir une autre interprétation de la vie.Bien que je n'ai entendu ma tribu sur papier,l'oreille de mon âme se penche toujours vers l'avant,courbe avec compassion,et prêts pour les palmiers doucement mon baume de cire tambours moins de curiosité.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


By 'rie Shontel

As my son's first set of molars push through his gums he's developed a fever.
But his fever will break.
I have a fever for improving access to healthcare and education for the Tikar people.
My fever won't break.
My fever is fueled by compassion.
My fever spikes with hope.

copyrighted 2010

FièvreEn Shontel rie »
Comme la première série de mon fils de molaires pousser à travers ses gencives, il a développé une fièvre.Mais sa fièvre va se rompre.J'ai de la fièvre pour améliorer l'accès aux soins de santé et d'éducation pour le peuple Tikar.Ma fièvre ne se cassera pas.Ma fièvre est alimentée par la compassion.Ma fièvre pointes d'espoir.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pleasant Dreams

Pleasant Dreams
By: 'rie Shontel

I'm so excited about the this trip to Africa that I can hardly sleep. For the first-time I will visit my family's tribe that we located through DNA testing. The other day my cousin e-mailed our family's certificate of authenticity. What a joy!

The 3 fundraising events will only hold 225 people total and I am looking forward to transporting them into  my world. The world I shared with my mama and great-grandma for many years before they transitioned. Next on the agenda to raise money for Africa and make my first Trans-Atlantic journey, distribute my press release and print quarter sized flyers to spread the word.

Until next time I'll leave you with a little song my mama would sing while tucking me in, "Night, night sweethearts, pleasant dreams!" May they all come true now.

copyrighted 2010

Pleasant DreamsPar: «Shontel rie

Je suis tellement excitée au sujet du voyage à l'Afrique ce que je peux à peine dormir. Pour la première fois, je vais visiter la tribu de ma famille que nous avons repéré par des tests ADN. L'autre jour, ma cousine par e-mail un certificat de notre famille d'authenticité. Quelle joie!

Les 3 activités de financement ne pourra contenir que 225 personnes au total et je suis impatient de les transporter dans mon monde. Le monde que j'ai partagé avec ma maman et grand-grand-mère depuis de nombreuses années avant de transition. Suivant l'ordre du jour pour récolter des fonds pour l'Afrique et de faire mon premier voyage transatlantique, la distribution de mon communiqué de presse et d'impression des dépliants trimestre entreprises à passer le mot.

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois je vous laisse avec une petite chanson que ma maman chantait tout en me border, "amoureux de nuit la nuit,, de beaux rêves!" Puissent-ils tous se réalisent maintenant.«Rie