The Africa2020 Season Spirit
TRANSCENDING TOGETHER ALL THE POSSIBLE FUTURES
A pan-African project
How to pay tribute to a continent of over 30 million km² and over 1.200 billion inhabitants? To meet the challenge of a Season dedicated to Africa and bring together African societies around common denominators, it was necessary to avoid the trap of nationalisms, regionalisms, and the promotion of linguistic and ethnic groups. Africa is the repository of a collective memory, the receptacle of civilizations with moving boundaries whose gestures have crossed the centuries. What binds the populations of the African continent is the awareness of living on the same territory, of belonging to the same History, of facing the same challenges on African soil: the access to education and health, the respect of human rights, the right to free movement, self-determination and economic emancipation.
This African consciousness has created over time a sense of belonging - sometimes tenuous - to the same land, the same people, and the same destiny. Pan-Africanism, this collective ideal of political, social, economic and cultural emancipation, is the base of this Season. Africa2020 is inspired by the spirit of Pan-Africanism which is based on the principle of unity and the affirmation of a common future based on otherness, what the people of southern Africa define by the term Ubuntu: I am what I am because of who we all are.
The Africa2020 Season is an allegory of the cultural, spiritual, commercial, technological and political networks that have linked the nations of the African continent throughout history. Bringing the whole of Africa together in one Season is a conscious choice. It is about creating a platform so that societies, which sometimes lost sight of each other, can once again enter into dialogue.
The Africa2020 Season is a meeting space where we can talk about our fears and our desires, our failures and our achievements, and our future. Gathering citizens from all the corners of Africa around a Season, means symbolically following the millennial continental migratory routes to reconstruct the stage for the ebb and flow of ideas, cultures and knowledge.
An invitation to look at and understand the world from an African perspective
How to build a programme accessible to all without falling into folklore and pure entertainment? I agreed to design this Season on the condition of giving it meaning. I thus invited Ntone Edjabe (Cameroon), Nontobeko Ntombela (South Africa), Folakunle Oshun (Nigeria) and Sarah Rifky (Egypt) for a research on denominators common to the people of our African continent. Which issues are the subject of research and passionate debates? What are the great ideas across Africa that lead to scientific, intellectual and artistic productions?
From one shore of the continent to the other, individuals are analysing issues facing societies connected by a common history and land. A brainstorming workshop in Saint Louis Senegal, on the edge of the Desert, in June 2018, led to five main themes purposely defined in the spirit of fluid partitions sparking the imagination:
- Augmented orality
Dissemination of knowledge, social media, technological innovations
- Economy and Fabulation
Redistribution of resources, financial flows, economic emancipation
- Archiving of imaginary stories
History, memory, archives
- Fiction and (un)authorised movements
Circulation of people, ideas and goods, notion territory
- Systems of disobedience
Political consciousness and movements, citizenship
Talking about the place of Africa in the world
The goal of the Africa2020 Season is to talk about Africa’s role in the world yesterday, today and especially tomorrow. To tell what the world owes to this cradle of humanity whose demography, mining subsoil and economic growth rates define it as the continent of the future. Africa is often associated with poverty, restricted freedom, coups, and of course migrants, who have turned the Mediterranean into a vast cemetery, symbol of lost illusions.
ow do Africans see the continent themselves? Is it really a damned land, hostage to a painful history, hampered by obsolete traditions and indifferent to the progress of the world? Contemporary Africa is the territory of a youth who sees in each obstacle a challenge to be met, who transforms a handicap into an asset and who draws its capacity for innovation from a rock-solid creativity and resilience. The 21st century Africa is the continent of an inspiring and committed youth who intends to be in control of its own destiny. The Africa2020 Season is indicative of this continental dynamic.
"I consider that Africa is simply the central, global, essential continent because it is here that all the contemporary challenges collide. It is in Africa that a part of the tipping of the world will be played."
President of the Republic of France, in Ouagadougou, on 28 November 2017.
A Season led by the African civil society
Build around the major challenges of the 21st century, this unprecedented Season is a laboratory for the production and dissemination of knowledge and ideas. It presents the views of the civil society from the African continent and its recent diaspora in all sectors. It is the sounding board for these agents of change who are shaking up codes, experimenting with new relationships with the world and impacting contemporary societies.
The Africa2020 Season is a multidisciplinary pan-African project, focusing on innovation in the arts, sciences, technology, entrepreneurship and the economy. Education will be a cross-cutting issue for the sharing and transmission of knowledge. This unprecedented Season will favour mobility, pay tribute to women, and primarily target the youth. The ambition of the Africa2020 Season is to create a global emancipation movement through a sustainable commitment build around the values of citizenship.
Based on the principle of collective intelligence, the Africa2020 Season is an invitation to build meaning together to transcend all the possible futures.
General Commissioner of the Africa2020 Season