Thursday, July 02, 2009

Algeria Set For Second Pan-African Cultural Festival After Four Decades

All set for Pan-African Festival

By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka

Zimbabwean artists will join a host of others from the continent at the second Pan-African Festival of Algiers from July 5 to 20.

A 60-member delegation from Zimbabwe — comprising musicians, poets, traditional dancers, authors, filmmakers and sculptors — will be among more than 8 000 participants from the continent.

They include Douglas Vambe of the Jerusarema fame, Patience Tawengwa, theatre director, Pathisa Nyathi, Tsitsi Dangarembga, sculptor Rickson Zavare and jazz diva Rute Mbangwa, among others.

Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ali Mokrani said the decision to hold the second edition was taken by the President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika with the aim of bringing into focus arts and culture in Africa.

"The Algerian government has built an ‘Africa Village’ at Zeralda Beach, quite close to the Mediterranean Sea, equipped with the facilities to accommodate all the participants.

"During the two-week Pan-African Festival the Algerian artists, along with their African brothers and sisters will perform their rich cultural diversity in the fields of music, dance, theatre, cinema, visual arts and fashion, as well as exhibition of heritage, art craft and holding literature and culture conferences," Ambassador Mokrani said.

Algerian Minister of Culture, Khalida Toumi described this year’s festival as "magnificent" and the "birth of humanity".

"Following the famous Panaf of 1969, Algeria is to celebrate the revival of the continental culture.

"Algiers will welcome from July 5-20, 2009 all the beauty, the emotion, the rhythms of the big cultural wealth of our continent which witnesses the birth of humanity," Minister Toumi said.

She said the second Pan-African cultural festival offered a new opportunity to Africa, almost totally freed from the colonial domination.

"The African union and the African governments are already committed and ready for this great event. I invite intellectual, women and men of culture, with their contributions and ideas, to join this event, which aims above all, to be a big song of the peoples’ brotherhood and all those who love Africa," she said.

Some of the popular artistes who took part at the first edition of the Panaf are the late great Miriam "Mama Africa" Makeba and Salif Keita,

The Panaf is probably the biggest arts and cultural gathering on the continent, showcasing the brilliance and diverse African talents.

The first ever Panaf was held in Algeria in July of 1969. It is being revived this year and it promises to be the mother of all cultural events if the countries represented are anything to go by.

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