Johannesburg, South Africa, is on September 22-25, 2009 hosting the World Summit on Arts and Culture for the first time in the history of this most important gathering that takes place every three years in a different country. The World Summit on Arts and Culture provides a unique opportunity for policy makers, funding agencies, development organisations, artists’ networks, think tanks and multilateral cultural bodies to reflect on the state of the world and its implications for the arts. OGOVA ONDEGO reports.
Such a global gathering, says Mike van Graan, Programme Director for the Summit and Head of the Arterial Network’s Secretariat, allows for key debates to be initiated, for visionary ideas to be launched and for networks to be consolidated so that the Summit is not be an end in itself, but a catalyst that will leave a lasting legacy for the global arts fraternity, and in this instance, for the African arts sector in particular.
The meeting shall be preceded by a two day bi-annual conference of the Arterial Network, an informal, dynamic network of individuals, organisations, donors, companies and institutions engaged in the African cultural sector, on September 20-21. This Network was formed in 2007 to support the effectiveness and growth of the African arts and culture civil society and to enhance the sustainability of creative industries in Africa.
A project of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), the 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture is hosted by the National Arts Council of South Africa.
Also taking place in the City of Gold on September 24-27, 2009 will be a series of concerts dubbed Arts Alive Jozi 2009. In the framework of Arts Alive Jozi 2009, African Synergy shall present “African Connections” with a view to building ARTS ALIVE as Africa’s premier arts showcase.
Consequently, AFRICAN CONNECTIONS presents a thrilling line-up of African music and poetry from Madagascar, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, Gabon, Malawi, Senegal, Mozambique, Niger, Belgium and South Africa that it says “transcends all national boundaries in Africa”.
Alongside the African Connections music programme, organisers African Synergy say, is the launch of the famed “House of Hunger” Poetry Slam in Jozi, visits by book publishers from Kenya and African Publishers Network (APNET) with a special public forum on “The State of Indigenous African Publishing” and an African book display focused on Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Senegal and Ghana;
“African arts journalists from nine countries will offer Africa-wide arts coverage, interviews and reports, the scope and diversity of African linkages in this program are unprecedented in any South African arts festival,” African Synergy says.
Among the musicians gathering in South Africa will be Senegal’s XALAM 2, recently re-united, Africa’s legendary Afro-jazz-funk super-group who made history performing before 500,000 at Woodstock 25th anniversary, backed Crosby, Stills and Nash in Paris, recorded with the Rolling Stones in London, and featured both Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba at various times in extensive European and world tours.
Also making their public debut are Tarika Be (Madagascar), nominated by Time magazine as one of the top ten musical acts in the world, Thuba Letu – 3 African Tenors, featuring Uganda’s super-charged Jose Chameleone, as well as reggae star MicInity from Zimbabwe; Central Africa’s hip-hop kings Baponga; and award-winning youth bands Mind, Body and Soul (Malawi) and Makoomba (Zimbabwe).
“After a successful arts reporting programme at Swaziland’s Bushfire festival in July (which produced a special edition of the Swazi Observer for the festival) Marimba Media is bringing together a team of Arts journalists in all disciplines from nine African countries (Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, Malawi) to spend six days at Arts Alive, Arterial Network seminar and World Summit on Arts and Culture covering, reporting back to their home media and conducting numerous interviews,” African Synergy says, and adds that “This programme will mark the official launch of the Marimba Media website.”