South Africans throw weight behind Mali’s exiled Festival au Desert as they make the Caravan for Peace come down South

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South Africans throw weight behind Mali’s exiled Festival au Desert as they make the Caravan for Peace come down South

A broad spectrum of South Africans are throwing their weight behind Mali’s exiled Festival au Desert – and are calling for ordinary folk to urgently support activities around this unique African cultural festival.

The expression of solidarity comes ahead of the upcoming residency hosted by Emthonjeni Arts under the auspices of the Africans for Africa network. This North-South collaboration of Mali’s Festival au Desert and the AFA network was announced and launched at WOMEX in Cardiff recently and is the forerunner of collaborations that will celebrate Africa’s diverse musical offerings.

The upcoming collaboration will consist of a melting pot of arts engagements, opening of new markets, collaborations and dialogues. It takes place over a two-week long residency programme at the Emthonjeni Arts centre in Hamburg, South Africa from 3 – 16 December, 2013. For the first time a delegation of leading musicians from Mali will be in South Africa for the residency. The musicians include Cheick Siriman Sissoko, Ahmed Ag Kaedi (the founder of Tuareg guitar band Amanar); Djibril Djiré; Issa Samake; Zoumana Tereta and Maria dite Sayon Sidibé.

As part of the build-up to the residency in Hamburg, The Africans for Africa network made if artists, cultural workers, media, thought leaders and other supporters will host a welcome African Peace Concert in Johannesburg on December 3rd.

The concert is being held as a celebration to share with South Africans the music from the North of Mali and to create awareness and raise much needed funds for the visit by the Malians musicians and to support the logistics of the AFA network. The Peace concert also presents the opportunity for the public to witness some of the live performances that will take place during the Emthonjeni Arts residency.

“This project has been driven by the passion of the Africans for Africa Network, while we urgently need to raise funds the concert is FREE and opened to everyone on December 3rd to ensure we share Africa’s cultural heritage and the African Narrative seldom told in African media,” says cultural activist Vanessa Perumal

“if you are unable to join the Africa Peace Concert come, you can still donate funds so that this amazing initiative that both supports the Festival au Desert’s global call to action through the Caravan of Peace and the first-ever extensive collaboration between artists from across the continent and South Africa is sustained,” says Perumal.

Supporters of the welcome Africa Peace Concert include charismatic hip hop arts motswako artist from Mafikeng Mrejo who s throwing his weight behind the Africa Peace Concert together with other SA artists Nomisupasta and other headliners who will be invited session with the Mali artists bringing the sounds of the Desert and nomadic people to South Africa. “It is a very beautiful idea first of all for African artists to come together young and old as one voice. A voice that the world may start to listen to issues that we really experience on a daily basis as Africans.” says Mrejo.

Zen a multi-purpose entertainment space that is a construct of vintage, trendy and chilled vibes situated in Maboneng precinct east of Jozi has offered the trendy space to welcome the FestivalauDesert to Southern Africa. ” We are honoured to offer our venue Zen a space where all the senses meet for such a noble human rights intervention” says Zen’s spokesperson Lebo Gabela.

The Africa Peace concert will take place on 3 December 2013 at 20h00 and also feature a photographic exhibition Dissonance: Scenes and Portraits from Gao by freelance journalist and photographer Salym Fayad who spent time in Goa northern Mali where Music was banned.

The residency and the welcome African Peace Concert is part of the recently formed Africans for Africa Network which aims to engage in a series of dialogues, set up exchanges between artists on the continent, create new markets for Africa’s cultural content and products and take ownership of the space in which Africa’s voice is expressed through music and culture in international arenas.

The Hamburg, Eastern Cape-based Emthonjeni Arts aligned itself with the Africans for Africa Network to lend support to changing the prevailing narrative of Africa from one driven by Western media, to one that reflects the inherent strengths of the continent across a variety of different, Afro-centred platforms.

“Emthonjeni Arts has joined the Africans for Africa Network because we believe we are a representation of the positivity this continent has to offer”, says Nomsa Mazwai, Director of Emthonjeni Arts.

“The Africans for Africa network articulates what we hope will become the African narrative: one that celebrates our many talents and achievements as Africans. As a project of the Eastern Cape, in the Amathole district Emthonjeni Arts is thrilled to be kicking off the Africans for Africa programme with a residency at our facility in the Eastern Cape”, she says.

“It is in celebration of Africa that we are hosting this collaboration of Mali and South Africa, in particular the Xhosa people of the Eastern Cape. Africans will come together to create magic! Because Africa is magical”, says Mazwai.

The residency will include cross-cultural dialogues, creations and collaborations between Mali artists and traditional Xhosa. The programme, spearheaded by young people will include contributions from artists and cultural leaders and thinkers from the South African creative landscape.

“Emthonjeni Arts is a sterling example of an African solution for the economic challenges of the rural poor of South Africa,” concludes Mazwai. “We look forward to hosting this prestigious residency on an annual basis, as we see it will give hope to young Africans that no matter where you come from – anything is possible in Africa.”

 

Note to Editor

Musicians wishing to join the network and perform during the African Peace Concert (while bearing in mind this is a benefit concert) can contact janneke strijdonk-xulu jannekes@iafrica.com or 082-965 99 65

For further information on Emthonjeni Arts and the residency visit the website “http://www.emthonjeniarts.orgwww.emthonjeniarts.org and Face Book. Bookings can be done online or by calling 040 678 1011. Follow Emthonjeni on Twitter @emthonjeniarts for constant updates.

Besides the partnership with Emthonjeni Arts and Mali’s renowned Festival au Desert – Africans for Africa has partnerships with numerous other African networks: which includes: Webjunkies, a division of 4sa Technologies, IMEXSA, iStart2, SA Women Engineers, Howiviewafrica, Woldegiorgis Ghebrehiwot from Mekelle University, Tigray, Ethiopia; Africa The Good News, Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust – Nozincwadi (Dr Gcina Mhlope) and Harem Clothing, JT Communication Solutions and the JT Comms African Media Resource Centre of Excellence.

Among the entities Emthonjeni is collaborating with is the Steve Biko Foundation (SBF), a community development organisation that focuses extensively on arts, culture and identity. Of the collaboration, SBF’s Director of International Partnerships Ms. Obenewa Amponsah notes, “We are delighted to work with Emthonjeni in this initiative. We believe forums of this nature provide an important platform for Africans to dialogue about the challenges of our past and present while creating a shared vision for the future. This Pan-African exchange is particularly timely as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity this year.

 

Three events will be open to the public:

 

9 December – ‘Activism through Music’ – at the Steve Biko Centre in King Williams Town, a community dialogue. 17:30 for 18:00. Entrance to the dialogue and the museum is free.

13 December – A Festival of Ideas – the public is invited to engage, celebrate and share ideas. A youth dialogue will take place where young leaders and emerging artists will meet to discuss the African Narrative and what it means to them. This dialogue will be podcast to different regions. Exhibitors and visitors may secure a space by visiting quicket.co.za and searching for ‘Festival of Ideas’. All spaces to exhibit are free and so is attendance.

14 December – Celebrate Africa – in solidarity with the Festival au Desert on their return to Timbuktu, a re-enactment of the festival will be performed at Emthonjeni from noon to 6pm. Hospitality tickets are R500 and garden picnic tickets are free. There is also a package for R1 000 which includes the hospitality and a night’s stay at the Emthonjeni Arts.

For media enquiries and an announcement of a press conference please contact Dee’s on media@jtcomms.co.za or 011-788-7631.

THE AFRICA PEACE CONCERT takes place at Zen in Maboneng Precinct – 293 Fox Street – this is a free concert opened to all. It starts at 20h00 or 08:00 PM

Issued by JT Communication Solutions on behalf of “AfricansforAfrica network” www.africansforafrica.co.za