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"Festivals connect the unknown with the known; they provide keys to unknown languages and create new possibilities for communication."
EFA supports launch of African Festival Association
Gent, Wednesday, 25-04-2012
On 19-21 April, the African Festival Association, AFRIFESTNET, was officially launched in Accra, the capital of Ghana. 60 representatives of 37 music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts, street arts, literature and heritage festivals from 18 countries across the continent attended the 3-days gathering, supported by the British Council. By the end of the launch event, AFRIFESTNET had 155 registered members. EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer witnessed the constitution of the new association and its mission, membership, leadership and secretariat were presented.
Delegates adopted a founding resolution and a Constitution to legalise the African Festival Network and elected a Steering Committee for the next two years:
• President: Kwesi Owuso – Environmental Film Festival of Africa (Ghana)
• Vice-President: Fidelis Duker – Abuja International Film Festival (Nigeria)
• Treasurer: Tony Lankester – National Arts Festival (South Africa)
The assembly voted for the representatives from the five African regions; the regional representatives are:
• North Africa: Brahim El Mazned – Timitar Festival (Morocco)
• Central Africa : Luc Yatchokeu – Le Kolatier "Africa Music's Market" (Cameroon)
• Western Africa: Daba Sarra Rokhaya - Africa Fête ( Senegal)
• Eastern Africa: Farah Durani – Samosa Festival (Kenya)
• Southern Africa : Musola Cathrine Kaseketi – International Film Festival of Zambia (Zambia)
All festival delegates agreed on the need and urgency of such a continental network, and committed to bring AFRIFESTNET to life and to engage in partnerships with European festivals.
Kathrin Deventer, participating on behalf of the European Festivals Association, underlined the importance to jointly advocate the role of arts in society, to lobby for favourable conditions for artists to travel between the continents, to engage in exchanges on artistic trends and projects, as well as to promote a global Future Review group to inform each other on most important artistic trends in both Africa and Europe.
“It is fascinating to see how common our challenges are, and how divers at the same time our artistic world is: a really inspiring basis to work on more joint endeavours. I am very glad to continue our dialogue in Bergen during the 60th anniversary of EFA, and extend the idea of an Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Africa,” said Deventer.
The most important mission for AFRIFESTNET is to bring festivals from the continent closer together to assist each other and share experiences, resources and products.
EFA and its member festivals such as the Ravenna Festival, BOZAR Festival!, Vilnius Festival and International Festival Wratislavia Cantans already engage in or prepare collaboration projects. The Association and its members will team up with AFRIFESTNET, engage in sharing of information, provide meeting platforms, allow artistic exchanges, proceed the idea of joint training and peer to peer learning.
Faisal Kiwewa Bayimba, Cultural Foundation, Uganda, and participant of the Atelier IZMIR 2011, stressed: “It would be great to bring the Atelier for Young Festival Managers to Africa to discuss the essential elements of the festival business: the conceptualisation and the artistic vision and mission of a festival.”
Related links and documents:
• Speech EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer
• Press release Arterial Network (24 April 2012): AFRIFESTNET now launched
• Photo Gallery