He may be blind, but 20-year-old Eric le Fleur is determined to see change in his homeland of Gabon in central Africa.
Eric makes his living by singing rap songs, which he makes up on the streets of Libreville, Gabon’s capital city. He plays by ear, integrating the discontent he hears into his texts.
He sings to escape his reality of sleeping rough on the streets, but also to awaken his fellow Gabonese to the social injustices in their country.
Listen to the report from Gaia Manco in Libreville, Gabon:
Gabon’s blind street poet
Eric comes to Mbolo, a market district of Libreville, almost every day. Everyone there calls him “le petit,” which means “the little one.” Some help him with a bit of money and food. “Even if he’s blind, he sees things clearly,” one fan said. (Photo: G. Manco)
Eric doesn’t know how to write. To compose the texts of his songs, he puts together what he hears from people on the street. That is why corruption, poverty and unemployment are recurrent themes. (Photo: G. Manco)
Reporter Gaia Manco meets Eric’s niece and mother. Eric’s mother, center, doesn’t have the means to take care of him. Eric is temporarily staying in a one-room shed with his brother Aubrey, but he is eager to get a job and support himself. “I don’t want to be dependent on the state or my brother, I want to work,” he says. (Photo: G. Manco)