Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Algiers to Host 2nd Pan-African Cultural Festival, July 5-20

Toumi prepares the Pan African Culture Festival


The Algerian minister of culture Mrs Khalida Toumi started yesterday in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) a series of meetings with African Union executives in charge of culture. She has to discuss with them preparation for the second Pan African cultural festival to be held in Algiers next July.

The Algerian minister of culture Mrs Khalida Toumi started yesterday in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) a series of meetings with African Union executives in charge of culture. She has to discuss with them preparation for the second Pan African cultural festival to be held in Algiers next July.

In this regard, Mrs Toumi had to meet with Mrs Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for social affairs in the African Union who praised Algeria's efforts which led to the continuation of of such a major event following the first pan African culture festival in Algiers in 1969.

The AU official invited Algeria to start organizing with the African Union the move of African media to Algiers in order to cover this event from the preparation phase. Algiers second festival is expected to adopt a Pan African cultural charter.

Other major issues are going to be debated during this event. Algeria currently holds the rotating presidency of the African culture ministers’ conference.

Algiers to Host 2nd Pan-African Culture Festival

By Peter Heinlein
Addis Ababa

Algeria is preparing to host the second Pan-African Culture Festival, and the first in 40 years. The event hopes to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Algiers this July to celebrate Africa's artistic renaissance.

Khalida Toumi was a young girl in 1969 when her hometown, Algiers was briefly transformed into the continent's culture capital. That first Pan-African Culture Festival made a lasting impression. Today, as Algeria's culture minister, she is organizing a re-creation of that magnificent event in cooperation with the African Union.

Toumi says those heady days of liberation have given way to a new, almost completely independent Africa.

"In 1969 the call of the hour was liberation, because many an African country was not yet free and those who were had just obtained their liberation. It was a value," Toumi said. "Today if I refer to the member states of the African Union, of the 53 countries, 52 are independent. Only one is not independent. Otherwise we would say Africa has liberated itself."

Toumi says the festival will celebrate the revival of Africa's artistic greatness.

"Africa is in full renaissance. A renaissance at full swing. This why the slogan of the second Pan African Culture Festival is The African Renaissance, which we called literally in English, Africa is back," Toumi said.

The Algerian minister says every African art form will be welcomed at this two-week celebration.

"This fair will have both aspects, material and intangible, as well as the visual arts, paintings, culture, art, photography and including the fashion, since there is a whole movement in Africa of the creation of the fashion art, which is being developed," the minister said.

AU Social Affairs Commissioner Bience Gawanas says the pan-African body is backing the cultural festival as a statement of Africa's resurgence.

"It is part of our very, very broad mandate, and that is to create an image of Africa, an image of Africa that does not only speak of conflicts, an image of Africa that does not only speak of diseases, but an image of Africa as the cradle of humankind," Gawanas said.

Officials say the gathering, from July 5 through 20, will feature thousands of artists from Africa and the African diaspora, from wherever people of African origin may be. They say the hope is that it will become more frequently scheduled, not something that happens every 40 years.

The FESMAN III and The Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers on the Same Tempo

Dakar Times
Monday, March 9, 2009

The Third World Negro Art Festival preparatory days have just ended in Dakar. They were an opportunity for the Algerian authorities to clarify that the panafricain Cultural Festival in Algiers is part of the same dynamic of the African renaissance FESMAN.

Dakar just hosted on March 1 through March 4 the preparatory days of the third World Negro Arts Festival scheduled for December 2009 in Dakar. Between now an then, will be held in Algiers a Pan-African cultural festival from July 05 throug July 20 2009.

Therefore, some observers have quickly suggested that the Algers festival could constitute a shadow to Dakar festival and thus limiting its scope. Therefore, the Algerian authorities have found it necessary to reassure everyone, especially the Senegalese authorities.

Indeed, the Ambassador of the Republic of Algeria in Dakar met the press on Tuesday on the sidelines of the last days of FESMAN. Mr. Zouaoui Benhamadi, Director of the Algerian Cultural Agency and member of Algiers festival organizing committee attended the meeting.

Beforehand, he stated that the festival of Algiers is part of the same dynamic of complementarity that of Dakar FESMAN. He added that these two events provide an opportunity for the African continent to showcas to the world its rich cultural and scientific wealth.

In reality, both the FESMAN and Algiers festival have received the endorsement and active support of the African Union, which participates in all preparations. Similarly, the two festivals are both focus on the same theme of African renaissance. The Organizing Committees of the two events are also committed to working in perfect synergy in order to succeed both in supporting of Africa and its diaspora.

Finally, an Algerian cultural week will be held in Dakar at the FESMAN if programming permits. Algeria is also in line with the proposal of the Senegalese Head of State to build a pantheon for the worthy inheritors of the African continent and its diaspora.

by T. BA editing and translation by I.BARRY

Ghana to participate in Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algeria

Ghana would be showcasing an important aspect of its cultural values relating to the “Rites of Passage,” at the Pan-African Cultural Festival which scheduled for July 5 to 20 2009 in Algeria.

The “Rights of Passage” as the theme of the festival, is very significant to the African as their way of life involved with rituals for people to reconnect and commune with their ancestors.

The African view of life, revealed a journey with many passages and challenges along the way which starts from birth till death.

Ms Lillian Bruce-Lyle, Chief Director, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, at a press briefing on Friday, explained that a pre-exhibition that had been mounted at the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, was to set the stage for what Ghana would be exhibiting at Algeria during the festival.

She said the purpose of the Pan-African Cultural Festival was to ensure that countries in Africa were bound together with culture and therefore all African countries were encouraged to participate, to ensure unity of the continent.

Ms Bruce-Lyle said the international festival would afford Ghana an opportunity to strengthen its cultural relations not only with Algeria, but also with other African countries and offer other Ghanaian participants the opportunities to interact and exchange ideas with their colleagues from other countries.

She said aside the official theme of the festival, other Ghanaian culture and cultural products would also be displayed.

Some of the items to be showcased included, special traditional mats made from the elephant grass that is used culturally as the bed of a baby from the day of birth till the seventh day after which it was believed that the baby had fully lost links with the spiritual world, shea butter, traditional sponge and beads.

There were other items and pictures depicting puberty rights, the traditional food “Oto,” (mashed yam with palm oil), as well as items for preparing the dead for burial.

Ms. Bruce-Lyle said the African also viewed life as a series of hills that one had to climb to reach the top saying the passage was also viewed as a covenant between an individual and the creator and a time for one to begin working towards developing harmony with one’s inner self.

She urged Ghanaians to educate their children on the nation’s rich cultural values to ensure their sustenance.

Source: GNA
Story from Modern Ghana News:
Published: Friday, February 20, 2009

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