Category Archives: Africa

Results of the 2023 Luanda Biennale, Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace


Excerpts from press releases of the Angola Press Agency

Unlike previous additions of the Luanda Biennale, Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace, there was very little publicity about the results. However, there were several press releases by the Angola Press Agency, that included the following excerpts.

The Biennale calls for the continuation of intergenerational dialogue .

According to the final communiqué, the forum organized by the Angolan Government, the African Union and UNESCO, advised the implementation of policies guaranteeing the participation of young people in decision-making processes to ensure that their proposals are heard and integrated in programs and strategies.

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It called for a review of education systems, prioritizing the training of critical and active citizens, enabling young people and entrepreneurs to better understand political processes and play greater roles in society.

It suggested the formulation of policies promoting gender equality and the creation of scientific research centers and resilience programs to face climate change.

The forum also recommended the promotion of the culture of peace through access and effective use of digital technologies and the creation of a network of African women for conflict prevention, peace negotiation and national reconciliation.

The Biennale also spoke out in favor of the integration of women in conflict resolution, in compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN, as well as the increase of the number of women in conflict prevention and resolution actions.

The forum, which brought together 790 participants from different African countries, advocated the establishment of partnerships between political leaders and young people, in sustainable social and economic projects, which could benefit society as a whole.

The role of women in peace processes dominates the second day of the Biennale.

“The process of transforming educational systems, innovative financing practices in the African context” and the “role of women in the process of peace, security and development at the African level” marked Thursday the second day of the Pan-African Forum for the culture of peace – Biennial of Luanda.

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Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

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The agenda for this second day also included the approach to “Challenges and opportunities for the integration of the African continent and prospects for economic growth” and “Climate change: ethical challenges, impact, adaptation and vulnerability”.

Visit to historical sites marks end of Luanda Biennale.

Visits to the Agostinho Neto Memorial, the Iron Palace and the National Museum of Military History will mark Friday the closing of the Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence – Biennial of Luanda, which has been taking place since Wednesday . Participants will also visit the Mint and Anthropology museums. . . .

The Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence was attended by the Presidents of the Republic of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves, the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Carlos Vila Nova and the Federal Republic Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Sahle-WorkZewed. The Vice President of Namibia, Nangolo Mbumba, and the Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Manuela Roka Botey also took part in the Luanda Biennale.

Biennale participants commit to spreading the message of peace in their country.

Young participants in the Luanda Biennale 2023 pledged on Friday to disseminate as much as possible, in their countries, the contents and experiences learned during the Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace, held in Luanda, aimed at consolidating pacification efforts on the continent.

Speaking to Angop, the Botswanan Mpule Kgetsi, the Mozambican Cheldon Maduela, the Tanzanian Genila Hiel, as well as the Angolan Antonira de Carvalho discussed the importance of the forum and the need for young people to be proactive in the promotion of actions that contribute to peace and the well-being of societies, highlighting peace as the main element.

According to Genila Hiel, a university student eager to spread the message to fellow citizens, the spirit of peace must be instilled from a young age within communities so that people grow up and work in healthy coexistence for sustainable development.

 For Cheldon Maduela, it is not only up to governments to address issues related to peace and democracy, which is why he considers the Biennale an inspiring platform to disseminate the experiences obtained. He stressed that peace is the “cornerstone” of the socio-economic development of States and that its preservation requires the contribution of all, without exception.

Namibian leader praises Angola’s commitment to peace in Africa.

The Deputy Minister of Education and Culture of Namibia, Faustina Caley, congratulated this Friday, in Luanda, the Angolan Executive for its key role in the process of the culture of peace and democracy in Africa. . . .

She considered the 3rd edition of the Luanda Biennale a success not only for Angola, but for the continent, because it allowed learning about the concerns of young people, as well as the exchange of knowledge and transmission of experiences between government leaders and former African leaders, with the perspective of leading this fringe towards the best paths for healthy coexistence. 

(click here for the original French version of this article.)

Female resilience in traditional African oral literature (Sociotexte journal)


An article from Fabula

Studies assembled and coordinated by Béatrice Kakou Assi, Department of Modern Letters, UFHB, Abidjan-Côte d’Ivoire.

Contrary to popular belief, the genres of traditional African oral literature are not fossils of our current literature and human sciences. Nor are their themes intended to be relegated to the residue stage of outmoded civilizations. On the contrary, traditional oral genres are anthropological universals and indicators of social mutations. They thus help to problematize the progress of man, in the sense that Seneca understood it, in the form of processual stations. They also help to understand and perfect human societies.

This is why Amadou Hampathé Bâ recommends that man “constantly return to the story during significant events in his life”[1]. Therefore, tales, legends, proverbs, myths, and other corpora relating to oral traditions – here, particularly African – should be read as authoritative sources for current issues: sustainable development, ecology, climate and the environment, human rights, the culture of peace and conflict management, the protection of biodiversity, women’s struggles, etc.

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(Click here for the original in French.)

Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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This last theme about feminine and feminist discourses in an oral and traditional African context validates the relevance of this thematic call from the journal Sociotexte. It will be a question of reflecting on the resilience of female and/or feminist figures in our oral texts, whether they are illustrious by their fame or anonymous by their invisibility. Contributions should therefore include:
– The struggle of women in tales, myths, legends and epics

– Figures of women, resistant or revolutionary

– Maxims and proverbs to the advantage of a shining image of women

– (Ancient) stories of the power of women (the myth of the mother goddess for example)

– Model figures for current feminist movements

– Stories of protection, celebration or deification of the “woman-mother”.

– Rebellions and revolts of women against the conventional places and roles assigned to women (warrior women or Amazons, etc.)- The female-male

– The mother or single woman (single, widowed or divorced)

Proposals are received at the following address:

The deadline is set for February 16, 2024.

— [1] Amadou Hampaté Bâ, Petit Bodiel, NEI/EDICEF, 1987, p.86.

Women, Peace, and Security Conference underway in Juba, South Sudan


An article from the Catholic Radio Network

The Annual National Conference on Women’s Peace and Security began in Juba on Wednesday 25th October 2023, calling for civic education and preparation for anticipated general elections in 2024.

The Conference focuses on women’s political participation, the constitution-making process, federalism, electrical, the role of media, and many other topics. More than two hundred women across the country are taking part in the conference.

Minister of Interior, Hon. Angelina Teny says this is the high time for women to start engaging in preparation for the elections.

“So we need to now think consciously, how we are going to be part of all these instruments and mechanisms that are going to be involved in ensuring a safe environment, for all the women and all the candidates to campaign.”

Hon. Angelina encourages the women to work hard to ensure their internal democratic processes contribute to a free, fair, and credible election in 2014.

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Questions for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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“You have to work hard to ensure that your internal democratic processes contribute to a free, fair, and creditable election that will ensure the participation of the women and other sectors of society.”

Hon. Teny revealed her Ministry role to promote free, fair, and credible elections through maintaining security across the areas in South Sudan.
Eve Organization for Women, representative, Jacqueline Natepo, says this is a moment for women to position themselves and effectively contribute to shaping the future of South Sudan.

“This period presents an opportunity for all women in South Sudan to position themselves and effectively to the shaping the future of South Sudan, for us, our children in the future generation to come especially peaceful stable inclusive and developed South Sudan.”

Natepo adds that women need to participate in the coming election as it’s getting to the end of the transitional period. She calls on women to take the conference seriously because women are a key part of democracy.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Miriam Choppers says much has been achieved since the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution.

She is worrying that the implementation of women’s peace and security is left behind. Choppers believes that a real measure of the strength of democracy is to measure the strength of women.

The two-day annual National Conference on Women is organized by Eve Organization under the theme, “Building Inclusive Democracy: Women’s Leadership and Political Participation.

The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”


A media advisory from the African Union


What:  The 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda   THEME: “Education, Culture of Peace and African Citizenship as tools for the sustainable development of the continent”

When: 22-24 November 2023, Luanda, Angola.

Who: The event is organized by the African Union and the Government of the Republic of Angola (the National Biennale Management Office) in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Why: The Biennale of Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” aims to promote the prevention of violence and conflict resolution, by encouraging cultural exchanges in Africa and dialogue between generations. It is held every two years in Luanda, the capital city of Angola.

The 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, 6 & 7 February 2021, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, underlined the Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace in Africa – Biennale of Luanda, as a privileged space for the promotion of cultural diversity and African unity, provides a unique platform for governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organisations to discuss and define strategies for the prevention of violence and conflict with a view to building lasting peace in Africa.

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Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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The aim of the Biennale of Luanda for the Culture of Peace in Africa is to work towards a daily and sustainable individual and collective appropriation and implementation, on the continent, of the concept of a culture of peace. 

This initiative reinforces the implementation of Goals 16 and 17 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 7 Aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in particular its ”Silencing the Guns by 2030″ initiative. 


The first edition of the Biennale of Luanda, “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace” was held from 18 to 22 September 2019 in Luanda, which was a celebration of various African values, beliefs, forms of spirituality, knowledge and traditions that contribute to the respect of human rights, cultural diversity, the rejection of violence and the development of democratic societies. 

The second edition of the Biennale of Luanda took place from 27 November to 2 December 2021 and was celebrated under the African Union’s 2021 theme, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

For more information, visit the Biennale of Luanda webpage.

Journalists are invited to cover the 3rd Edition of the Biennale of Luanda.

For further inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Ebba Kalondo | Spokesperson to the Chairperson, African Union Commission | E-mail:
Mrs Christiane Yanrou-Matondo | Principal Communication Officer, Cabinet of the Chairperson | E-mail:
Ms. Limi Mohammed | Web Administrator, African Union Commission, Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate E-mail:
Mr. Gamal Eldin Ahmed A. Karrar | Senior Communication Officer | Information and Communication Directorate (ICD), African Union Commission | E-mail:

Information and Communication Directorate, African Union Commission I E-mail:

Web: | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

African Union: Leveraging Arts for Peace – Training on Silencing the Guns


An article from the African Union

As a follow-up to the December 2021 Seminar for African Artists on Silencing the Guns, the African Union (AU) Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), convened a five-day virtual training for another cohort of artists from 18 to 22 September 2023, under the theme: ‘Leveraging Arts for Peace’.  The training was grounded in the belief that Art helps prevent conflict in communities by raising awareness and inspiring tolerance around societal differences.

Held during the Africa Amnesty Month, the training, organised by the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), through the Silencing the Guns (STG) Unit, brought together 25 African artists from all the regions of Africa, to not only raise their consciousness about promoting peaceful co-existence in communities, but also to sensitize them against the use of the art to incite violence, promote hate speech, hate crimes or other forms of conflict.

In his opening remarks at the start of the training, the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, underscored the need for artists to champion and advocate for peace with an enhanced understanding of efforts undertaken towards a cohesive society – through conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation. “As artists, you have the power to not only bring people together, but also inspire a sense of community”, said Dr. Chambas.

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Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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On her part, Ms. Svenja Vollmer, on behalf of Mr. Evariste Karambizi, the Director of the Division for Peace at UNITAR, applauded artists for their unique ability to translate complex emotions, experiences and societal issues into tangible and relatable forms. Ms. Vollmer called upon the artists to use their creative energy to bolster the common goal of silencing the guns in Africa. “Through music, dance, visual arts, literature, theatre, and more, your guilds have historically challenged injustice, promoted dialogue, and kindled the flames of social change”, she stated.

During the five-day training, discussions centered around the role of artists in advancing peace advocacy through arts; principles for effective advocacy and outreach; AU’s work in advancing peace and security; and the existing approaches and frameworks to silencing the Guns in the continent, among others.  Furthermore, the training guided participants with the knowledge and skills to advance peace and security through artistic expression; heighten awareness and promote ownership of the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative to campaign towards supporting country-level interventions to achieve a conflict free Africa and create favourable conditions for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.

The artists were also taken through the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa – the guiding document for the Silencing the Guns initiative, which highlights interventions that need to be taken in the political, economic, social, environmental and legal aspects; as well as an introduction to concepts of conflict and conflict analysis; and the role of artists in advancing peace, among others. In this regard, participants exchanged views and brainstormed on creative ideas that would heighten public awareness on Silencing the Guns and the negative impact of the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons on the continent.

In December 2021, the Silencing the Guns Unit organized a continental seminar on “Art, Culture and Heritage, as Levers to Silence the Guns in Africa”, in Accra, Ghana with the aim of sensitizing African Artists on the importance of promoting a culture of peace.

Yemeni peace laureate to deliver keynote speech on the matter in Cape Town today


An article from Independent Online

As the global community faces incessant threats to peace and stability – and there is more violence within communities in South Africa – the voices at a Peace Dialogue and Youth Conference taking place this weekend should be amplified.

Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, a human rights activist, journalist and politician from Yemen, will be a keynote speaker at the Power of Peace Dialogue in Cape Town today.

Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Picture: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelinio

The 7th Annual PeaceJam South Africa Youth Leadership Conference will start today and runs until Sunday. It is hosted by Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa, an affiliate of the PeaceJam Foundation.

At the age of 32, Karman is the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate as well as the first Arab woman and the second Muslim woman to receive the prestigious recognition.

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Karman in recognition of her “non-violent struggle for democracy” and advocating for women’s rights in Yemen.

During the Arab Spring, referred to at the time as “The Mother of the Revolution” and in the face of increasing threats made to her life, Karman led peaceful protests for democracy and freedom of speech in Yemen.

She is also the founder of Women Journalists Without Chains and was imprisoned and persecuted as a result of her active engagement, according to a Nobel Prize statement.

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Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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A Power of Peace Dialogue, in partnership with the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, will start at 6pm today at the Old Granary Building, Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.

The dialogue session will take the form of a panel discussion and will include Karman, PeaceJam Foundation vice-president Lauren Coffaro, Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation CEO Janet Jobson, Mosaic Training Services and Healing Centre for Women executive director Tarisai Mchuchu-Mac Millan, and community leader and advocate Talethia Edwards.

The Peace Conference tomorrow and Sunday is expected to see hundreds of young people, aged between 14 and 24 years, who are interested in becoming agents of positive change in their communities and world gathering at the Chrysalis Academy in Cape Town.

Approximately 400 learners from 19 different high schools and youth organisations, along with over 50 university mentors, will attend.

Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa NPC is a non-profit organisation that aims to create a culture of peace by empowering young people to become leaders and peacemakers.

The organisation is part of the PeaceJam Foundation, a global movement of 14 Noble Peace Laureates who mentor young people to change the world through service and education.

“The world is in need of new ideas and approaches and this new generation of young people is uniquely qualified to understand and address the complex problems of violence facing humanity.

“Our Youth Peacebuilding Conferences and Lectures offer engaging and safe spaces to nurture young people and help them realise their potential to tackle issues head-on,” Mentoring PeaceBuilders South Africa NPC co-founder and director Earl Mentor said.

“We want to build awareness of the Power of Peace in the light of the ongoing violence in our high-conflict communities in South Africa. We want to also discuss peace to help transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing our nation through dialogue and action.”

Montpellier: Euro-Africa Biennial and Water Days


Extracts from the web sites of Entreprendre-Montpelier – Biennale and Entreprendre-Montpelier – Water Days

In 2021, Montpellier hosted an innovative event promoting a desire to reinvent the links between the African continent and the French territory: the New Africa-France Summit. A Summit highlighting the links between civil societies, in which the participants were not heads of state or ministers, but artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, or even researchers and African academics and French.

Today, we must urgently innovate and together forge the conditions for a sustainable future for all. As you know, our metropolis is still in the running to become European Capital of Culture in 2028, as such, I wanted this first edition of the Euro-Africa Montpellier Biennale to be the highlight of our candidacy. For a week, we will bring together a wide range of actors from our two continents to discuss together the subjects that connect us. Whether by addressing the theme of water, a crucial subject for our territories and so central to our MedVallée strategy, or the importance of changing views on the African continent, Montpellier creates, through this Biennale, a framework conducive to innovation and the collective implementation of concrete solutions.

Michaël Delafosse Mayor of Montpellier
President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole

Click on image to enlarge

The Euro-Africa Biennale will have two parts:

A general public cultural component

The program includes events of national and international influence to promote existing and future cooperation between Montpellier and the African continent (general public festival, screening evenings, concerts, dances in the halls and emblematic places of the city as well as ‘in the open air”, artist residencies in places of art, culture and knowledge in the city) We hope to transform the public’s outlook on the reality of current African cultures, particularly in the field of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICC).

An exposition of African fabric will be displayed at the Halle Tropisme and in the city’s spaces, as an extension of the Africa Past Forward Forum which will be held at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris on October 6 and 7, 2023.

A development and innovation component

The “Euro-Africa Montpellier Water Days” will take the form of a multi-stakeholder congress around issues linked to water resource management and cooperation between territories, scientists and civil society.

Another highlight will be the “Young African Entrepreneurs Campus” which will open its doors for its second edition in Montpellier from October 1 to 11. This offers a support program to innovative African entrepreneurs operating in the fields of technology and innovation, global health, cultural and creative industries and sport in Africa.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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And three axes:

Axis 1: The water that connects us,

Axis 2: Future plans for other modes of cooperation,

Axis 3: Transforming the views of European citizens on the reality of the African continent.

Water Days

Water is a major issue within the framework of the MedVallée strategy, the water which connects us is at the heart of the issues of health, environmental preservation and agriculture which constitutes the basis of the strategy and image of the triptych “Heal, Protect, Nourish”. Responding to the challenges of these days, the scarcity of precipitation, over-demanding resources and lack of infrastructure, we want to createa dialogue between state and private stakeholders, scientific or from the field, to solve the geopolitical and economic problems posed by the lack of water in a context of global warming, increasing urban demography and supply inequalities.

October 9 to 10: 2 days of discussions to explore reality and find solutions between stakeholders involved in the following themes:

° Climate change and hydrological risk
° Urbanization of Mediterranean and African megacities
° Access to water
° Sanitation and health
° Urban and peri-urban agriculture
° Governance
° Water and gender
° A look back at the United Nations Water Conference (March 2023)

To address these themes, the planned round tables and workshops will bring together:

° Scientists: 40 Mediterranean, African and European scientists.

° Mediterranean, European and African private sector companies: 30 company representatives.

° Institutionals and decision-makers: 40 representatives of local, regional, national, Mediterranean, African or European governance
° International organizations: 40 representatives from various international organizations and associations
° UNESCO Representatives and Chairs: 20 people are invited to participate in the round tables.

(Thank you to Emanuelle Defossez, the reporter for this article.)

Togo participation in the Luanda Biennale, or Pan-African Forum on Culture, to take place in the Angolan capital from November 22 to 24


An article from Republic of Togo

The Luanda Biennale, or Pan-African Forum on Culture, will take place in the Angolan capital from November 22 to 24.

Three young Togolese were invited, Komlan Nestor Kotchadjo, Samson Ayi Kouevi and Lidaw-wè Fabienne Dontema.

Samson Ayi Kouevi ©

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(click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

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This meeting is a joint initiative of UNESCO, the African Union (AU) and the Angolan government which aims to promote the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts, by encouraging cultural exchanges in Africa and dialogue between generations .

As a space for reflection and dissemination of artistic works, ideas and good practices linked to the culture of peace, it brings together representatives of governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community and International organisations.

The Forum is participating in the implementation of the “Action Plan for a Culture of Peace in Africa/Agissons pour la Paix” adopted in March 2013 in Luanda.

Samson Ayi Kouevi, the Togo national coordinator of the Pan-African youth network for the culture of peace, is pleased to be on the list of participants.

‘Peace and living together are our priorities. We believe in human dignity, social justice, international cooperation and the harmonious coexistence of peoples. These values are necessary if we want to build a better future,’ he said on Tuesday.

For the Luanda Biennale, it is a question of working towards daily and lasting individual and collective appropriation and implementation, on the continent, of the concept of culture of peace.

How to promote the culture of peace in the DRC?


An article from Radio Okapi

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still facing numerous challenges, particularly the risks of security instability and conflicts, during this electoral period. For experts, it is essential to promote the culture of peace and non-violence in the minds of men and women. It is in this context that Gospel artists decided to come together to promote peace through songs during the Festival called “100 voices for peace, Gospel Mass Choir for Peace” scheduled for next October in Goma (North-Kivu).

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(Click here for the French original of this article)


Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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Nearly 20,000 festival-goers are expected at this great celebration of peace. How are the preparations for this event going? How to promote the culture of peace through the Gospel?

Jody Nkashama talks about it with Ludovic Kalengay, coordinator of the Multisectoral Popularization and Awareness Program (PMVS), Marlon Mateta, Deputy Manager of the Festival “100 voices for peace » and with Mrs. Annifa Vahavi, President of Divine Gracia and member of the organizing team of the 100 Voices for Peace Festival

Towards an African renaissance through culture and history


An article from La Depeche d’Abidjan

Through oral tradition and knowledge of history, African culture can convey peace and creativity on the continent, beyond, and throughout the world.

In West African folklore, Anansi was a charming prankster with the appearance of a spider. He realized that human beings were sad, because they had no reason to hope or envisage a bright future. He then remembered that Nyame, the sky god, had magical things called stories. These stories could make humans happy, Anansi thought.

He visited Nyame and asked to buy his stories. However, the sky god told him that they were not for sale. “I won’t sell them for anything in the world, except for Onini the murderous python, Osebo the elusive leopard, Mmoatia the mischievous fairy and Mmoboro, the swarm of deadly hornets,” says Nyame. This mission was a feat, but not for Anansi, who managed to capture these four out-of-reach targets using his genius. When he delivered them to Nyame, the latter was not satisfied. However, having made a deal with Anansi, he had to honor his promise.

“Bring these stories back to earth and give them to humans,” Nyame said. They will be eternally grateful to you. Besides, they will name all the great tales “spider stories” in your honor. »

Thus, Anansi the joker became the god who knew all stories. The myth of Anansi illustrates the need for every society to create and share stories.

Netflix and UNESCO have joined forces to launch an innovative short film competition on the theme “African folk tales revisited” throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The winners of the competition will be trained and monitored by professionals in the field and will receive a production budget of $75,000 to produce short films which will be broadcast for the first time on Netflix in 2022, in the form of an Anthology of African folk tales. One of the main objectives of this competition is to discover new voices and give international visibility to young directors from sub-Saharan Africa.

From spider tales to African history

Stories such as those shared by Anansi have been at the heart of human life for thousands of years, a kind of cognitive game that stimulates the human mind, allowing us to understand natural and social phenomena, and to imagine different strategies for living in a complex world. It could be assumed that the more we collect and share these stories, the more we will be able to understand ourselves, others, the world around us, respective and common values and traditions. UNESCO’s work over the past decades to document, collect and write down these stories from around the world is not only a much-needed effort to protect and preserve precious heritage, but also an effort to develop knowledge of the world as well as our collective capacity to understand ourselves.

Spider tales are widespread in West Africa,. The Ghanaian tales of Anansi are among the best known, in the Akan language the name Anansi comes from the word “spider”.

Today, Anansi symbolizes the wisdom, creativity and complexity of the entire African continent. Oral traditions — messages, songs, fables and proverbs — are passed from one generation to the next without writing, allowing people to make sense of the world around them and teaching them essential aspects of their culture.

Like the tales of Anansi, told since the dawn of time, the history of the African continent has been passed down orally from generation to generation. Although historical writings have existed in West Africa for many centuries, the majority of people on the continent were unable to read them. Oral tradition allowed Africans to share their common history, whether they came from the north or the south of the continent, however Europeans considered that the latter had no history, because they were incapable of reading and understanding it. to understand. Thus, the history of Africa that was shared with the rest of the world began with the story of colonialism and that of Europeans in Africa.

Decolonizing African history

In the early 1960s, as Africa entered a phase of rapid decolonization, intellectuals and leaders of newly independent countries worked to liberate their history as well as that of their nation. In order to put an end to the general ignorance of African history, UNESCO launched the “General History of Africa” in 1964. The Organization invited African intellectuals to write, for the very first time, the history of their continent using sources often ignored by Western historians, such as folklore, traditions and culture, to provide an African perspective, free of the racial biases emanating from the slave trade and European intervention.

This ambitious project, intended to renew scientific approaches to the history of Africa, had immense repercussions on world history, and offered a new global perspective on the history of all continents. It placed Africa at the heart of the history of humanity. For the first time, we attempted to go beyond the borders of national stories in order to construct a true “general history”, highlighting the common points between peoples and cultures, revealing trends and exchanges over the centuries beyond borders. national, and highlighting identities like never before.

The African continent has the longest history in the world: it is the cradle of humanity. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that the common ancestor of human beings was most likely African, an idea that alarmed many at the time. “The fact that we could have evolved in Africa was anathema to many, who were unable to believe that the pure white, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired northern populations could have originated on the ‘dark continent’. ”. However, all the major events linked to our history date back to Africa,” explains the Kenyan paleontologist, Richard Leakey, one of the first contributors to the General History of Africa project. “We are an African animal, an African species that has colonized and recolonized the world at different times and in different ways. Today, no human being can say that Africa is not their motherland.”

The General History of Africa

The General History of Africa (HGA) is a pioneering, unprecedented project, aiming to cover the history of the entire African continent, from the beginning of humanity to the contemporary challenges faced by Africans and their diasporas around the world. A story which brings to light the pre-colonial period and intertwines the destiny of Africa with that of humanity by highlighting its link with other continents and the contribution of African cultures to the general progress of humanity. In recent years, UNESCO has begun the preparation and editing of three new volumes of the HGA (volumes IX to XI).

Starting from the example of Africa, UNESCO has led other vast historical projects on a regional scale, such as the General History of Latin America and the Caribbean, the History of Civilizations of Central Asia, the different aspects of Islamic culture as well as the History of humanity. These volumes and their thousands of pages, written well before the birth of online platforms such as Wikipedia, represent one of the most ambitious scientific endeavors aimed at building a common understanding of the human history we share. The General History of Africa has since changed the global perspective on how history is written and constitutes a historiographical shift in scale that modern “world history” and contemporary “connected histories” continue to explore .

The General History of Africa in video

The General History of Africa (HGA) launched by UNESCO in 1964 has entered a new phase with a nine-part documentary series, produced by BBC journalist and producer Zeinab Badawi. The latter traveled to the four corners of Africa, interviewing historians, archaeologists and African citizens whose testimonies and stories paint a vivid picture of their continent’s past and its influence on their lives today.

Teaching the General History of Africa

In March 2009, UNESCO launched “Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa” to respond to requests made by African countries concerning the adaptation of the content of the volumes of the General History of Africa. Africa to school education. To do this, UNESCO has developed educational content to teach to children in African primary and secondary schools in order to improve the knowledge of African pupils and students on the way in which African societies have evolved through time and space. and on the impact of these changes on the present and the future.

Celebrating a common culture: from north to south, from west to east

There is an expression common to many Southern African languages: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, which literally means “a person is a person through other people”.

In African culture, the “self” is not separate from the world, on the contrary, it is one with the natural and social environment. Although there are different ethnicities and nationalities — each with their own language, gastronomy and artistic expressions — all Africans share a common culture. This African wisdom echoes John Donne’s famous quote “no man is an island”, which reminds us that human beings do poorly when they are isolated from others and need to be part of a community to thrive.

The end of colonization at the beginning of the 1960s was no guarantee of lasting peace on the continent.

On the contrary, violent political events, rooted in ethnic conflicts, have hit sub-Saharan Africa since independence, causing millions of deaths and slowing economic development.

To ensure peace on the continent, regional communities understood that they needed to strengthen their ties and interact with each other, celebrating their common culture.

Let us draw together from our values, our traditions, our culture in order to find the path to prosperity and peace. Denis Mukwege, Congolese gynecologist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018

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Question related to this article:
Can popular art help us in the quest for truth and justice?

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Building peace in Africa

Every two years, Luanda, the Angolan capital, transforms into a global center for peace in Africa, as the city hosts the “Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace”, also known as the Luanda Biennale. More than 60 countries are represented, attracting representatives of governments, international organizations, NGOs and artists. They share ideas, enter into new partnerships and take part in cultural events, with one common goal: to strengthen the culture of peace on the continent.

The Biennale is the result of the joint efforts of the Angolan government, the African Union and UNESCO. It is organized to overcome the various obstacles to growth and prosperity in Africa.

It also constitutes a platform of choice for taking stock of and encouraging some of UNESCO’s most important initiatives in favor of education, science, press freedom and equality. genres across the continent. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), at least half of young people aged 15 to 17 in sub-Saharan Africa were out of school before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is not only got worse. This is the highest proportion of any region in the world. More than half of those who should now be honing the skills they need for the job market or to access higher education are not even in school. As an example of concrete action, the UNESCO Global Education Coalition provided free internet access to Senegal and other African countries to facilitate immediate distance learning for a half-million learners, with the goal being to enroll an additional 3.5 million in the program.

The Luanda Biennale Partners Forum focuses on how to build innovative partnerships for inclusive democracy and peace across African countries. It brings together international organizations, the private financial sector, foundations and media as well as civil society, artists and cultural entrepreneurs.

This forum of ideas provides a platform for dialogue on the future of Africa, and focuses on solutions to prevent and resolve conflicts using culture, education and the free press. It addresses the protection of displaced people and migrants, the contribution of the African diaspora and the concerted management of the continent’s natural resources.

The women’s forum focuses on ways to end all forms of violence against women and the role of women’s networks in achieving peace in Africa. “I think it is important for us as a continent to come together and have a discussion about the paths we want to take and how we are going to get there,” said Xoliswa Phenya, Deputy Director of the development of crafts with the South African Department of Arts and Culture. Our leaders spoke of the African renaissance. Perhaps it is time for younger generations to step in to make this dream a reality. »

When African history helps us understand today’s societies

The Anansi spider has become the symbol of African finesse and wisdom in expression and its stories have survived through oral tradition. They have also traveled all over the world. This same oral tradition spread Anansi tales to the rest of the world, particularly to the Caribbean, through populations enslaved during the colonization of Africa.

For enslaved Africans and their descendants, Anansi became a symbol of resilience and survival. Tales recounting the spider’s ingenuity and trickery helped slaves survive the ordeal of captivity, perpetuate the link with their African past and assert their identity.

Today, nearly 200 million people across the American continent consider themselves of African origin. Several million more live in other parts of the world, outside the African continent. Understanding these historical and cultural connections is a prerequisite for meeting the contemporary challenges of social cohesion and the many forms of cultural belonging in modern multicultural societies. It is also an opportunity for all countries whose populations are made up of millions of citizens of African descent to encourage international dialogue and build links with other societies around the world. Citizens of African origin often represent some of the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups, with limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security. Understanding the past is perhaps one of the conditions for breaking the vicious circle and the legacy of racism, discrimination and exclusion.

During the transatlantic slave trade, some four million slaves were brought to American shores in Salvador de Bahia, in what is now Brazil, to work on sugar plantations. Some slaves managed to escape and settle on free land. Among them, the ancestors of Sandra de Santos, who created the agricultural community, Quilombo do Dandá, 250 years ago. Yet Sandra had to fight to preserve the land her family had lived on for generations.

“Tractors came to destroy our crops. There were conflicts. Overnight all our plantations were destroyed,” she says. After months of legal battle, she was allowed to stay on her land.

To help descendants of African slaves and people of African descent, UNESCO supported the International Decade for People of African Descent. Launched in January 2015, it will continue until December 2024. This decade aims to celebrate the importance and contributions of populations of African origin around the world, to advance policies of inclusion and social justice , to eradicate racism and intolerance, promote human rights and create more prosperous communities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

African culture and art around the world

Aged 19 and originally from the Dominican Republic, Eveline Murmann is one of the young Afro-descendant activists who fight every day for recognition of their roots and an end to discrimination, trivialized in daily exchanges: “straight hair is more formal” and “pale skin is prettier”. Others use artistic expressions such as songs, rap, poetry and dance to tell their stories, as their ancestors did with the tales of Anansi.

“This is the starting point for ending the structure of racism that permeates our society. Being Afro-descendant implies accepting our origins, loving our culture and taking part in our history,” she says. It means being proud of this beautiful skin and this hair so full of freedom. It is recognizing our value and highlighting our contribution to the development of societies.

See us ! Hear us ! Count us in! » [Regardez-nous ! Entendez-nous ! Incluez-nous !]:

Voices from the Decade for People of African Descent

Video celebration of the first part of the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2014-2025): musical performances, mini-documentary produced in Latin America, conversations with experts and inspiring voices of young people of African descent African people from all over the world sharing their testimonies, their hopes and their dreams through dance, poetry, singing, rap, slam and other creative expressions.

Indeed, the voices of the African diaspora and its young representatives have become loud enough to be heard around the world. Like that of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, a 31-year-old Senegalese author, who has won numerous literary prizes in recent years for works on contemporary themes such as racism, discrimination and Africa’s relations with Europe. Thanks to his latest novel, The Most Secret Memory of Men, he became the first author from sub-Saharan Africa to receive the most prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, and one of the most young winners of all time.

Just like African history, African literature has never stopped living. The growing recognition of its authors is an important first step towards redefining Africa’s relationship with the world. UNESCO forms of recognition such as International Jazz Day or the inscription of the Congolese rumba as an element of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity are part of the numerous initiatives recently taken to highlight and raise awareness of the importance of artists and creators of African origin. By combining the musical tradition of their ancestors with arrangements and improvisations, artists of African descent created new musical codes, which led to the birth of blues and jazz on the banks of the Mississippi Delta in New Orleans. Congolese rumba singers and dancers have also been at the forefront of all struggles and aspirations for Congolese independence.

Focusing on Africa means improving our world. Recognizing and sharing the many ramifications of African history helps us understand today’s societies and live together. This is the driving force behind UNESCO’s commitment to Priority Africa, and the reason to believe that African culture is an accelerator of mutual understanding, creativity and innovation, allowing us to harness the field of possibilities. This is how UNESCO delivers on Anansi’s promise and writes the next chapter in the spider’s story.

UNESCO and its development partners are closely monitoring 54 African countries, using a stronger and more focused strategy. The African renaissance is underway: the adoption of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prepare the ground for action by the African Economic Community.

The African heritage

UNESCO firmly believes that sustainable peace and development are intrinsically linked to the capacities and skills of individuals as well as their dignity and rights. It is about taking advantage of this momentum by strengthening the assets of Africa, whose heritage represents a prodigious source of creativity. The richness of the continent’s heritage encourages us to safeguard it for future generations. Although Africa is under-represented on the World Heritage List with only 12% of the sites registered throughout the world, almost half of these sites are on the list of world heritage in danger.

Agenda 2063: the Africa we want

Agenda 2063 is the blueprint and blueprint for Africa aimed at transforming Africa into the global power of the future. It is the strategic framework of the continent which aims to achieve its objective of inclusive and sustainable development. It is a concrete manifestation of the Pan-African desire for union, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued within the framework of Pan-Africanism and African renaissance.

The African Cinematic Heritage Project (AFHP)

AFHP is a long-term project carried out in partnership with the Film Foundation, chaired by Martin Scorsese, and the Pan-African Federation of Cinematographers (FEPACI) to contribute to the localization, restoration and preservation of films made on the African continent. It will identify 50 films of historical, artistic and cultural significance and will subsequently undertake the restoration process. UNESCO plans to include these films in the “Memory of the World” register.