Based on the life of Senegalese academic, philosopher and poet Felwine Sarr, this lyrical text is captivatingly performed by Burkinabe actor Étienne Minoungou as an inspiring and imaginative storyteller speaking to his African brothers.

Infused with the cultural and historical experiences of the continent, Traces serves as 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, this speech invites a new generation to sow the seeds for a better future.

Show performed in French with English supertitles. Duration: 1 hour.

Tickets and Details

Performances are free and open to the public. Advance tickets required. Reserve tickets online


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COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityThe Matthews Acting Studio is wheelchair accessible. Show performed in French with English subtitles. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Guests in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least one week in advance of the event date.

Photo Gallery

About the Artists

Étienne Minoungou smiles and looks off to side

Born in 1968 in Koupéla, Burkina Faso, Étienne 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 winse seated plays a wind instrument

Photo by Emmanuel Delaloy

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 his home country, Burkina Faso. As a child in his native village, Simon Winsé learned to play the mouth bow. His inspirations are at the confluence of jazz, desert blues and rock. 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 smiles directly at camera, wears light blue collared shirt

Photo by Francesca Mantovani

Felwine Sarr is a Senegalese academic, writer, and musician. Since 2020, he has taught contemporary African and diasporic philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina. 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 Jimsaan publishing house. 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.


Produced by Théâtre de Namur
Written by Felwine Sarr
Directed by Étienne Minoungou
Performed by Étienne Minoungou and Simon Winsé
Outside Eye Aristide Tarnagda
Lighting Design Rémy Brans
Live Music Simon Winsé
Excutive Producer and Touring La Charge du Rhinocéros
Stage Manager Gaël Genette
Co-produced by Festival Les Récréâtrales (Ouagadougou)
With the support of Fondation Von-Brochowski-Sud-Nord (Berlin) and the Institut Français (Paris)
With additional 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.
Premiered at Musée des Civilisations noires, Dakar, on December 5, 2018
Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines is published by Éditions Actes Sud

Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts