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s G20 leaders met in London to work
out strategies to ward off the gather-
ing global financial crisis, a myriad
of artists and other key figures from
the cultural scenes of Africa, the Caribbean and
the European Union came together in Brussels
1-3 April. They poured over proposals to promote
integrated cultural and economic development
in ACP countries. Senior politicians in the same
conference room awaited their recommendations.
Louis Michel, EU Commissioner for Development
and Humanitarian Aid, spoke of the need of states
present to follow-up on the Forum's proposals.

Rather than simple appeals, recommendations of
the 'Brussels Declaration', drawn up by artists
and cultural professionals, were both practical
and inspiring. Louis Michel was also on hand to
champion cooperation between ACP countries
and the EU. And to quote Amartya Sen, the
economist-philsopher who won the Nobel Prize
in Economic Sciences in 1998: "Diversity can-
not be eliminated by imagined cultural taboos
or assumptions imposed by civilisations..."

Alphadi, one of the most brilliant African design-
ers, lashes out at this tendency to make assump-
tions, celebrating diversity in the hope that the
coming together of designers and other creators
will tap into this well of vision, assets and mate-
rial well-being for the African continent.

The awareness of Africa's contribution, which
is played down and underestimated in the cold
light of evaluation instruments and methodolo-

gies or simply crude prejudice, is vital for the
arts and other areas of creativity because the
self-confidence of a continent and its diaspo-
ra Caribbean and elsewhere hinges on it.

Focused on culture and economic development,
this special edition wants to put the record
straight and show how Africa and the whole of
the ACP region have fired the imagination in the
world of music, the visual arts and stage, while
showing on a cultural and economic front, the
continent's potential to sell its cultural assets. It
evokes avenues that could be explored to produce
a long-term and sustainable development strategy.

We have to address prejudices. It only makes
good economic sense.This is all to do with public
perception. Investors from every sector suppos-
edly choose markets solely on the rationality of
high return for their investment.This is just not
true! The European baby boomers who rushed
in the nineties to the United States, viewed as
the land of hope and glory, were probably more
inspired by their seventies nostalgia for jazz,
Coca-Cola and Miles Davis' swinging rhythms
than by the ups and downs of Wall Street.

When Rome wanted to invade a country, it dis-
patched perfumes, elixirs, cloths and herbs ahead
of its centurions. Until one day, a conquered
Greece culturally conquered Rome, with a more
subtle culture.

Hegel Goutier
Editor-in-( /i. F


Hegel Goutier

CULTURE in the ECOnomY.

lot the icing, but a large slice

of the cake

Not so many years ago, when posing the question as to what is the leading export
product of the world's richest nation, the United States, there would be some
surprise on hearing that it was culture. Today, the incredulity is less. The doubts
today relate rather to the ability of poor countries to base their development on
trade in cultural assets and to recognize that these too are trading products.
What is surprising is that the economic players, and above ail those who finance
these countries, remain reluctant to invest in this sector. As a result, it is often the
creative artists themselves who become businessmen to fill this gap. Such is the
case of the Nigerien couturier, Alphadi, and the musicians, Youssou N'Dour, from
Senegal or, in his day, Bob Marley of jamaica.



T culture industries are increas-
ingly important to economies of
developed countries. The figures
for 2005 show that they represent
7 per cent of global GDP, that in the United
States the figure is over 5 per cent, and that
in Canada and Europe the proportion is 3.5
per cent and 5 per cent respectively. What
is more, these figures are based on a restric-
tive definition of what constitutes a cultural
If the creative products and exports of the
rich nations are understood in a wider sense,
the figures are much more impressive and
highlight even more cruelly the isolation of
poor countries. So much so that it is pos-
sible to establish a one-to-one correspond-
ence between exports of these products and
economic development. The cultural sector
employs 5 per cent of the Canadian popula-
tion and a much greater proportion in the
United States.
In 2002, Bruce Lehman, president of the
International Intellectual Property Institute,
asked jokingly what American workers
did, as only 14 per cent (18 million out of
134 million) of them were employed in
the manufacturing industries. He provided
the answer, namely that most of them are
in some way engaged in the production of
intellectual and intangible goods, whether
computer software and video games, fiction
films, Internet protocols, genetic engineer-
ing or the design for a Boeing fuselage.
The US film industry employs more work-
ers than the megalomaniac defence indus-
try. As for international trade in cultural
products, Alexandre Wolff estimates this
increased by 40 per cent during the 20 years
prior to 2000 to reach US$400bn in 1998
compared with US$100bn in 1980.

> Those who are doing well

In recent years, the so-called intermediate
economies made a breakthrough on the
market in cultural products. Here too the
link with economic development is present,
although it is not necessarily the case that
they developed first, having learned to sell
their cultural products. In most of these
countries, the development of culture indus-
tries preceded the economic boom, acting
as a catalyst. That is certainly the case
of India where the success of Bollywood
advertised its economic success well before
it really came to the attention of the world.
Brazil started by controlling its audiovisual


production before becoming an important
emerging country. Today, it is the world's
seventh biggest exporter in the music sec-
tor and above all controls 90 per cent of its
domestic music market.
That said, the developing countries are
achieving growing success. The situation
of the audiovisual industry in Jamaica
is legendary, for example. The music of
these countries also sells well. So-called
'world' music is a successful export prod-
uct, from Ayo to Amadou and Maryam,
from Mercedes Sosa to Lila Down and
from Cesaria Evora to Youssou N'Dour.
The latter has many albums that have
topped more than a million in sales, The
Guide selling three million! The musician
produces his albums himself, his company
employs between 200 and 300 people and,
very importantly, he reinvests his earnings
in his own country, Senegal, and in other
African countries too. His BIRIMA project
for micro credit launched in February 2005
is another example of artists committed to
the management of the cultural economy,
as is his AMPA or 'Association of African
Professional Musicians' that defends the
interests of Africa's musicians. Youssou
N'Dour invests his earnings in Africa.
It is in fact the absence of the private sector
in their countries or regions that enabled
many of these artists to become business-
men. One such example is Alphadi**, the

founder of FIMA (International Festival of
African Fashion) and FAC (Federation of
African Fashion Designers) who, with his
fashion caravan that travels Africa and the
Caribbean, supports young designers and
contributes hugely to the growing reputa-
tion of African fashion.
Youssou N'Dour made the switch from art-
ist to artist-businessman after realising that
his album The Guide, which sold over 3
million copies in 1994, earned a great deal
of money for Sony, and not for Senegal or
Africa. M

* See interview in this issue.

For more information, please visit: www.
culture-dev.eu where you will find, inter
alia, the paper "Potentialities and issues at
stake in creation and culture towards devel-
opment" by Francisco Ayi J. D'Almeida,
Director of Culture et Dveloppement -
France Association Fashion.

On page 2: Dominique Zinkp, Partage de Territoires,
Exhibition Bnin 2059, Fondation Zinsou, 28th
September-4th January 2009. Photo by Lo Falk

Africa; culture; Youssou N'Dour, Bob
Marley; Alphadi; cultural products;
Ayo; Amadou and Maryam; Mercedes
Sosa; Lila Down; Cesaria Evora.

tre --em .-. b e -r n in th -ae of th -e e-lue ofto e eh ol pe.-. e
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Thr ar ..-o te recuren p ejuie of coonsaio -ic .nweg in Afi
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an e hraopea en e atclr th reea eare out .y -ot j on the

a r of .t ifune on e s of the gea muia ge nre s of th-- - --t.Jaz
.0eCua m sc roc and hi-hpalav eiorgninAi. --., -. . . . . c
o ceranohrknso mui alogrftdfointneo th reten

FISHIOl. Affrica has what it

takesto make BILLIO01S

An interview with Alphadi, icon of African fashion

By Hegel Goutier

Alphadi is probably the best known African fashion designer. This is the man
behind the huge fashion shows at the feet of the pyramids in Egypt. Designers
from around the world flock to admire his creations. He also campaigns to
promote African fashion and founded the African Federation of Fashion Designers
25 years ago and the International Festival of African Fashion 10 years ago,
attracting more than 10,000 people each year and 50 to 60 designers from ail
over the world.

Alphadi immediately points out that fash-
ion does not just cover couture, but also
jewellery, leather goods, visual arts and
interior design, all of which have a cultural
impact, generating revenues and creating
lots ofjobs in Africa. Many are undeclared,
but he is convinced thatfashion has more
resources than other creative sectors.

We have 54 countries in which to work
to show that a cultural offensive can lead
to development and create employment.
Today, the situation is changing because
Africans are starting to take responsibility,
to wear African clothes, to eat African food
and to decorate their homes with African

This is a good time for your -ri.r;.'

Yes, but like all cultural offensives, you
need finance and managers, something that
Africa is often in need of. We want our

work to go beyond our continent. We
want it to be appreciated elsewhere, in
Europe and in America. We want to estab-
lish franchises, licences and points of sale
throughout the world. If Yves St-Laurent
and Pierre Berger had not had financial
backers like the LVMH Group, they would
not have created the empire that they have
left behind. Though we may have become
major designers, we cannot grow in any
other way. At the moment, we have to do
everything ourselves design, financing
and distribution. Europe is not going to do
it for us.

It is a case of casting thefirst stone?

Absolutely not! Our problems are our own.
We don't buy our own products, either
from the Diaspora or from Africa itself.
Since Obama's rise to prominence, people
are starting to realise that black people are
capable, and that mixing races is something
remarkable. This is something we under-


Interview Fashion

stood 30 years ago. If we help each other in
Africa, we will succeed, but the Diaspora
does not have finance except in the USA.
All cultural sectors are buoyant, in particu-
lar areas connected to fashion and beauty,
such as textiles, couture, leather goods, jew-
ellery, cosmetics and perfumes. Billions of
dollars could be made in Africa, and goods
could be exported as well.

Why do the economic and political powers
show such reticence towards the cultural
economy in poor countries, particularly

The people in power in our countries do not
always have high standards. Some think of
their own pockets. Even if those at the top
are voluntarist, they are not necessarily well
surrounded, and those working with them
do not always have the public interest at
heart. Africa is in a bad state today because
many leading political and economic fig-
ures do not really believe in its true values.
While fashion, cinema and culture make
up 40 per cent of exports in the USA,
Africa could achieve the same or even more
because it is a continent where every city,
region and country has a thousand ways of
creating fashion and derived products. It is
simply a matter of adapting them to today's
fashion, modernising techniques and creat-
ing industries to generate billions of dollars
from within Africa. But those responsi-
ble for promoting African fashion are not
doing their jobs. Our leaders generally wear
western clothing in ministerial conferences,
and when they wear traditional dress, they
seem to see it as being part of folklore. I
personally believe that African presidents
and ministers should wear African dress
when attending important meetings to set an
example of dynamism. They go looking for
money elsewhere, and it's been right under
their noses the whole time.

The offensive has already been won in
Morocco, an African country which spares
no effort in ensuring that the textiles and
fashion industries are a reality. Algeria and
Tunisia are getting there too. These are
countries that have seen what Europe has

You have always linked northern and south-
ern Africa. This rapprochement now seems
to be making progress, as the crowning of
North African jn/,i...... i. showed in the



last Fespaco Film Festival in a clean break
with the past.

Only because the south of the continent did
not see the rest as belonging to Africa. But
also because northern Africa considered
itself to be European for a while. They even
wanted to become part of the European
Union. The Maghreb region must under-
stand that it is part of Africa. They have
been successful in their offensive, covering
cinema, fashion and tourism. Today, they
have to lead the way. Lots of our young

people go to these countries to train because
it has become difficult to go to Europe. The
Maghreb is Africa's gateway in terms of
sustainable development. And the cultural
offensive must go beyond politics.

Dresses by Alphadi.
C Revue Noir

Alphadi; fashion; textiles; derived
products; Maghreb; Africa; Morocco;
Algeria; Niger; Tunisia.

e-qtmr *q 44 1


fiSHIOI The lfrican fduantage

ius from Mali, who seems to have
started it all, African fashion has
established its true pedigree with
big name designers, managers and com-
municators like Alphadi or Claire Kane,
who have made this industry (together
with music) one of the biggest export earn-
ers in Africa, as well as the number one
employer in 'culture' based work. Now, a
new generation is following in their foot-
steps, both on the African continent and
amongst the Diaspora settled in Europe and
the Caribbean. Elsewhere, the Pacific too is
rapidly gaining renown for its fashion.
In 2006 the first ACP culture festival was
held in Santo Domingo and served to boost
the reputations of fashion designers such
as Anggy Haf, Leslie Nrette and Marion
Cecilia Kali Howard. Designer Anggy
Haf from the Cameroon draws on raffia,
roots, lianas and other natural things to

lend refinement and sensuality to his crea-
tions, but he also combines them with the
most modern fabrics. A skilled manager,
organiser and communicator, he has headed
the BISE model agency since 2001 and
was a driving force behind the creation
of the Association of Young Cameroon
Fashion Designers, the Cameroon Fashion
and Hairdressing Festival, and the 'Made in
Kamer', or Kamerly, fashion show.
Leslie Nrette, although still very young,
is an all-round creative genius, expressing
herself in the plastic art, graphics, fashion
and other fields. Since the Santo Domingo
festival, where she created a very real
sensation, her career has gathered momen-
tum, confirmed by her huge success at the
CulturElles Festival (Port-au-Prince, April
2008). Of the same generation, the couturier
and designer, Marion Cecilia Kali Howard,
from the Cook Islands, has created her own
range of fabrics inspired both by nature and

the culture of her native Pacific homeland.
As Africa has its International Festival of
African Fashion (FIMA) and other major
festivals, so the Caribbean has Caribbean
Fashion Week that makes the headlines in
the world's media such as The New York
Times. Last year's festival, held in June,
was a dazzling affair that showcased many
talents from the sub-continent.
Three of the many names that marked the
FIMA are:
The duo Zaad & Eastman, from Trinidad.
A mix of white and colour, of forms and
fabric, with an ever-present sensuality
that borders on the torrid. A marriage of
streaks of colour and lace, organdie, taf-
feta, silks, whites and frills. Voluptuous
streaked sheath dresses with the rich bronze
tints reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea. The
transparency of black tulle on flowing skirts
of the same jet black so warm that it seems
to radiate the most vivid of colours.
Keneea Linton, Jamaica. Each garment,
each costume is a graphic game. Distinction
seems to be her leitmotif. White and black
dominate the lines, streaks, rosettes and
other forms displaying a purity that magni-
fies the beauty of the body. A beauty accen-
tuated even more by such original thoughts.
In particular, Linton's hats are of amazing
Europe's African diaspora is also part of
the picture, and the breakthrough of Louise
Assomo is testimony to that. This gen-
ius of Cameroonian origin, now based in
Brussels, has followed a brilliant path since
she won the Cristal d'or in Paris soon after
completing her studies and staging her first
major show in Brussels just three years ago.
Today, Louise Assomo is the darling of the
Belgian fashion world as well as a hard-
working businesswoman, with boutiques in
Brussels, Antwerp and Tel Aviv.
H.G. M

Hegel Goutier; Chris Seydou; Alphadi;
Claire Kane; Anggy Haf; Leslie Nrette
and Marion Cecilia Kali Howard;
Kamerly; FIMA; Caribbean Fashion
Week Zaad & Eastman; Keneea Linton;
Louise Assomo.


Clment Tapsoba*

Economic states and

CHfLLEIIGES of ffrican

and Caribbean CIOEmII

From 28 February to 7 March 2009, the 21st edition of the bi-yearly Panafrican Film
and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco) respected its long lasting tradition
by presenting the very best of African, Caribbean and Diaspora cinematographic
and audiovisual work. Created in 1969, the Fespaco celebrated its fortieth birthday.
The theme of this edition was African Cinema, Tourism and Cultural Heritage.
Let us go over the new challenges facing African and Caribbean cinema.

n many respects, the challenges facing African and Caribbean
cinema on the occasion of the Fespaco were the economic
stakes of the cinema and the audiovisual, which were more
than ever at the heart of debates to find solutions to recurring
questions that had been evoked repeatedly, from one edition to
another, through the seminars, panels and workshops organised by
the Fespaco or partners of African and Caribbean film-making.
> Questions without answers
A look back to the themes approached in past editions of the festival
was enough to be persuaded. It is enough to look back to the previ-
ous editions' themes instituted with the support of the Federation
of African Film-makers (FEPACI) to debate on the current preoc-
cupations of African and Caribbean cinema: how to organise the
national audiovisual market in the sense of creating financing that
encourages national cinematographic and audiovisual production
and distribution? (Production and distribution issues Fespaco
1981). What film for what audience? How can the African film-
maker go to meet his audience? How do we truly integrate African
films in the commercial distribution networks that are so sorely
lacking (Fespaco 1999)?
Despite these calls for thought and action, and in spite of a seem-
ingly flattering harvest of films listed for the 21" edition (664
films in all categories from 75 countries), the crisis of African and



Caribbean cinema is a permanent feature.
No need to boast production-wise either.
In most African and Caribbean countries,
where all social and economic indicators go
anticlockwise and suffer the consequences
of the tightening of external subsidies, film
production stagnates when it is not purely
non-existent. Film-makers are the first con-
secrated victims on the list of economic
priorities and emergencies and films are
underfinanced, when political authorities
do not purely and simply give up. At the
2009 Fespaco, out of the 18 films competing
for the Golden Stallion of Yennenga the

supreme consecration 11 originated from
the ACP. Among the leading runners of the
ACP countries presenting more than one
film in the official competitions, we find
three South African films, followed by the
host country (Burkina Faso) and its two
contributions. These countries with the
exception of Morocco and Tunisia in the
Maghreb maintain a film-making support
policy that pays off. This does not seem
to be the case for West African countries,
whose strong film-making tradition some-
what wilted from one Fespaco edition to
the next.

> Closing time!

From the point of view of distribution and
theatres, the crisis is even more blatant. The
distribution networks set up in the 1970s
and 1980s have disappeared following the
privatisation/liquidation of national produc-
tion and distribution companies (Sonacib
in Burkina, Sidec in Senegal, Onaci in the
Congo...). It is much easier to watch an
African film in Europe than it is in Africa.
The figurehead movie theatres of African
capitals have either been destroyed or closed
down, like the Paris in Dakar (Senegal),
Abidjan's Studios (Ivory Coast) and Porto-
Novo's Rex (Benin). More recently, last
January, Cameroon joined the sad list of
countries deprived of cinemas with the last

of its eight movie theatres closing down,
Yaound's Cinma theatre Abbia.
On the occasion of the roundtable organised
atthe openingof Canal France International' s
(CFI) on the theme of Circulation and eco-
nomic outcome for African audiovisual
work, the situations described find their
origins in several factors: the lack of recent
films to supply existing movie theatres
and the strong competition of film pirat-
ing, compact disks and satellite dishes are
all factors contributing to accelerate the
degradation of the broadcasting conditions
of African films. Another handicapping
factor: African cinema is underfinanced and
heavily depends on external aid. African
cinema is absent on its own soil (Ezra by
Nigerian Newton Aduaka 2007 Golden
Stallion of Yennenga reaped wider audi-
ences in Europe than in Africa since it won
in Ouagadougou) and is confined to an art
house network or to European festivals,
attracting very little attention from the
Asian or American networks. M

* Film critic and vice president of the African Federation
of Film Critics (AFFC).

I On top: Poster of Teza

Cinema; Fespaco; Ouagadougou;
Burkina Faso; crisis; theatres; Golden
Stallion of Yennenga.

Audience ea eo -al in loe. wihO* te slo rhth an ethra aluin-ttesato h im-btfwpol ald

....au te -nnm u e cso of the juy- th 21 ~st F es c Fil Fetia *. .0ar th Golde S o of Ye n-e.g eo ths e-

Guim .as *rdued an Sep son of die.. nten a plitv eod abu th-ot htdg t w rv ihisd

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Th .e miianyo Ane-.- an Tesf- ew brln eon me n hae e e etd eo *ih .ea s th ime-ea dita
*osi of th -egu an un ero th tan eal -. . . . th rier pr-m tn eegst' cop eo -c t ey el e.

be-.-e .p .yasal r o f neo-e az bules
Gur .a' plitv crie .- s e no on e, eseil nthe Wet eu wowl e- sae.- Cidood e.. e e --tn

et the. . 2-0-..................................* e o. -e



astonishing, irresistible and tantalising

A football pitch was the stage for a performance by Burkina Faso choreographer
Irne Tassembdo at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Ouagadougou
film festival on 28 February and 6 March in front of an audience of at least
20,000. It was an incredible spectacle which left knowledgeable spectators and
those less familiar with contemporary dance moved and in awe.

T his choreographer from Burkina Faso has created a style, which is
primarily pictorial. Dialogue between peoples is dramatised through
the adaptation of Burkina Faso folklore, featuring scenes with
acrobats, giant puppeteers and a wave of drummers a dreamlike
vehicle of cultural dialogue and African unity. Absolutely, but instead of see-
ing scenes, it is more like looking at a painting. The women unfurl huge sheets
to dry out on the stadium's turf at the beginning of the performance which
turn into moving waves where the women, the wind and the fabric are as one,
evoking Cassavetes' 'Love stream'. The rest of the performance has the same
fluid dynamism too, Irne Tassembdo' s trademark. She could be criticised for
some vague synchronisation, but what matters is that the choreography sweeps
along full of nostalgia, enchantment and reverie.
Irne Tassembdo is in greater and greater demand abroad as are many other
choreographers from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The first festival of
culture for these three regions held in Santo Domingo at the end of 2006 has
already attracted attention for its inventiveness and audacity.
For example, the 'Compagnie ler temps' from Congo and Senegal in a per-
formance such as 'Impro-Vis 2' present a kind of dual comic strip, the jerky
movements of which produce a tragic, solemn atmosphere with a great cre-
scendo like Ravel's Bolero or Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez's Batuque.
The 'Errance' performance by Kettly Nol, a choreographer from Haiti who
developed her work in Mali, sculptures silence, stylises isolation and madness
and examines the smallest manifestations of fear and the dread hidden away in
all of us without indulgence or morbidity, nor any desire to seduce or shock. Of
course, the audience is always petrified!
Also worthy of mention is the Akiyo dance from Haiti taking inspiration from
the voodoo dances seen as fortification of the body and spirit, and a stylisation
of the balance between gentleness and strength. It is a dance syncopated with
shadow and light in forms, movements and spirit, astonishing, overwhelming
and tantalising the audience.
The quartet of Rako dancers from Fiji whose dance is a soundless, suave and
sensual poem, gliding felt-like and elastically, uses well interspersed percus-
sion to give rhythm to the silence. With the percussion, each beat gently awaits
the next, and the swaying walk is modulated in the same way. H.G. M

Hegel Goutier; Irne Tassembdo; Compagnie 1" temps; Kettly Nol; Akiyo m
dance; Rako; choreography, contemporary dance; Africa; Caribbean; Pacific.


" .ago, Seck and Sylvie Clereu

',FRICA: the

SE of the world

> Jazzmen and rockers: a passion
for ffrica
Gospel, jazz, funk, rap, rumba, R&B, rock,
reggae, dancehall, cumbia, tango... so
many musical genres of the 20th and 21st
centuries have their origins on the African
continent, a major reference for contempo-
rary musicians. Recently, following in the
footsteps of countless jazzmen, three artists

have released albums inspired by this infi-
nite heritage: Randy Weston, with his love
of the Gnawa rhythms of Morocco that have
their origins in the Niger Loop; the Texan
blues man Johnny Copeland who draws
his inspiration from Congolese and Ivorian
music; and Hank Jones, a man fascinated
by the music of the Mandinka. This interest
in Africa is shared by rock musicians who
acknowledge the direct influence of African

music in the crossover between black R&B
and white country music: stressed or shout-
ed lyrics, the faculty for improvisation,
a pulsating rhythm and fragmented cho-
ral singing. Peter Gabriel, founder of the
Realworld label that launched many African
artists onto the international stage (Youssou
N'Dour, Geoffrey Oryema, Remmy Ongala,
Papa Wemba, etc.), is perhaps the most
illustrious example. He is so fascinated with


..;; ........ ... N


Africa and its contemporary creations that
he has brought his Womad festival to loca-
tions ail over the world (Japan, Australia,
Hong-Kong, and more recently Indonesia).

> ffrica and fsia: a recent loue

Previously confined to Europe and the
United States, since the 1990s the influ-
ence of African music has spread to Asia.
Doudou N'Diaye Rose has conducted
Korean and Japanese tambourine players.
Youssou N'Dour has worked with the jazz-
man Ryuichi Sakamoto, originally from
Japan, a country that is home to a growing
number of Congolese rumba and Mande
music groups, including that of the Malian
Mamadou Doumbia made up entirely of
Japanese musicians. Papa Wemba has also
been invited to Japan on many occasions
and Abeti Masikini, who toured China in
1989, saw his repertoire adopted by Scu
Mi In, one of the stars of the Beijing music
scene, nicknamed 'the Chinese Abeti'.

very present and widely acknowledged. A
marriage of Bantu rhythms and Argentinean
expressionism, today after many years of
denial the tango is officially recognized as
a genre with African roots. Brazil, a country
with more than 40 million inhabitants of
African origin that has experienced two
major influences Yoruba and Kongolese-
Angolan is expressed musically in many
genres of African origin: batuque, lundu,
jogo, capoeira, samba. More recently,
thanks to the work of Susana Baca a col-
lector of Afro-Peruvian music and songs
who, in 1992, founded of the Institute
Negrocontinuo (Black Continuum Institute)
- Peru has recognized the African dimen-
sion to its culture and awarded the rightful
social status to the Afro-Peruvians who for
too long remained on the sidelines of main-
stream society. But it is Cuba that defends
its African heritage most actively with the
rumba that has been known worldwide
since the 1920s. Almost a century later, the
dialogue continues most notably with the
pan-African group Africando who work
regularly with Cuban musicians.

> Latin Hmerica: Hrgentina and
Peru finally acknowledge their > Bob Brozman: the link between
ffrican roots ffrica and the Pacific

tion of Hawaii that has become known
for its famous guitar technique*, with its
laid-back rhythms, a style that influenced
many Central African guitarists from the
1950s, such as Jimi Banguissois. A fan of
the Hawaiian guitar and music from the
Caribbean and Africa, the American blues
man Bob Brozman, who has worked with
artists from Africa and the Indian Ocean
(Ren Lacaille from Runion on Dig Dig
and Djely Moussa Diawara from Mali on
Ocean blues), seems to be one of the few to
favour meetings between the cultures of the
Pacific and Africa.
Nevertheless, Australia and the music of the
aborigines in particular are today arousing
the interest of a number of African artists.
So Kalmery, for example, has studied the
technique of the didgeridoo that features on
his recent album, Brakka System. The door
is therefore open to a dialogue that should
be promising. M

For further information: www.afrisson.com,
www. saraaba. fr

* Pacific people are known for pan-pine music as well.
It's common in Melanesia.

Nowhere more than in Latin America and
the Caribbean has Africa's influence been
felt so directly, a region where it remains

The Pacific is the only region that has had
few cultural links with Africa. Relations are
practically non-existent, with the excep-

Music; Africa; Pacific; Asia; Caribbean.


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Gotson Pierre*

HlITI: Inuesting in theatre

More than a hundred applications from young companies have already been
received by the Fondation Connaissance et Liberts (FOKAL), organizers of the
sixth Quatre chemins theatre festival, to be held in September 2009 in Haiti's

capital, Port-au-Prince. They are keen to take part in
a focal point for Haitian theatre.

an event that has become

theatre companies are discov-
ered", says Michle Lemoine,
organiser for FOKAL, who
works in cooperation with Belgium's
French-speaking Community in Haiti, the
theatre company, 'La Charge du Rhinocros'
and the French Institute in Hati.
"Creativity is apparent in the diversity
of the groups and the multiplicity of the
expressions", she says, stressing that the
companies are becoming more professional
year-on-year. The fifth edition of these fes-
tival, held last September, was inaugurated
with a "rainbow parade" that saw actors,
directors, choreographers, dancers and pup-
peteers fill the streets of the capital to the
sounds of the traditional Rara music in a
sprit of total theatre.
Michle Lemoine explains that the festival's
approach is to promote a "citizen's theatre"
aiming to "generate awareness" in society
and at the same time letting talent loose.
Thanks to this 'Nous Thatre Association'
received public recognition a few years ago.
This theatre, which is not based on dialogue
from written text, won over an audience
in the street which itself became the stage
on which scenes from everyday life were
Relating his experience, one of this com-
pany's principal founders, the dramatist
Guy Regis Junior, believes that in the
Haitian context, theatre can help combat
insecurity by, for example, encouraging
people to get out onto the streets in the

evening. As well as the theatre performance
itself, he believes it is crucial to "encourage
meetings" that make it possible to mobilize
energies to achieve progress in society.
In the same spirit, the Haiti National Theatre
is seeking to become part of the fabric of its
immediate environment the slums of the
capital's 'Cit de Dieu' neighbourhood
long since deserted by the public. Director
Frantz Jacob speaks of the "theatre-forum"
formula that makes it possible to create an
interactive game with the public. As well as
being entertaining, in this case theatre helps
identify and solve problems on stage as a
means of resolving them in everyday life.
"In a violent environment, it has been prov-
en that theatre, a healthy leisure activity that
acts on the intellect and promotes aware-
ness, is a means of calming the situation",
says Frantz Jacob. The actor and director,
Daniel Marcelin, is of the same opinion. He
believes that theatre is able to "contribute to
the development of the individual" helping
him to "become aware of himself and to
find his place in society".
This ideal of theatre has been expressed
through experiences such as that of the
famous director Herv Denis (died 2002), to
whom Daniel Marcelin replied in The trag-
edy of King Christophe by the Martinican
writer Aim Csaire (died 2008). In the
tradition of the great playwright Flix
Morisseau-Leroy (died 1998 1998), author
of the Creole adaptation of the classical
Greek play Antigone, Herv Denis shed
"important light on the theatre in Haiti

in regard to ethnodrama" (incorporating
Voodoo mysticism). Head of Department
at the Petit Conservatoire, which trains
young people in the dramatic arts, Daniel
Marcelin welcomes the cooperation with
France and Belgium enabling teachers from
both countries to to spend periods at his
drama school. Unfortunately, given present
conditions in Haiti, theatre is not an "eco-
nomically viable" activity, regrets Marcelin
because, he says, "we spend three months
rehearsing a play for just two or three per-
formances". One exception to this is street
theatre, 'I... which is beating all box
office and tour records with sketches that
have audiences in stitches.
Theatre is expensive due to the heavy
investments, the company being obliged
to bear all the costs relating to production.
Marcelin believes that one of the major
problems is the closing of so many theatres.
Today, the last remaining large theatre in
Port-au-Prince, the Rex Theatre, is under
threat. Marcelin calls for government sub-
sidies for the dramatic arts, seeing them as
"a kind of investment, the return on which
will come later".
* Joumalist, editor of the on-line press agency www.
alterpresse.org, radio broadcaster and correspondent for
foreign media in Haiti.

Haiti; theatre; Caribbean; Quatre
chemins theatre festival; Fondation
Connaissance et Liberts (FOKAL) ;
Michle Lemoine ; Guy Regis Junior;
Daniel Marcelin.





Does nICIEIT RflRICA haue


While Africa's cultural heritage is no longer in dispute, its scientific contribution
to world heritage is still overlooked. For some time, researchers have been
systematically challenging this last bastion. They include Paulin Hountondji,
under whose leadership the memorable 'Endogenous Knowledge' was published.

Paulin Hountondji attempted to
explain the marginalisation of
Africa in the field of science. He
identified two major reasons for
this. Firstly, the slave trade at a time when
the emergence of printing would proliferate
knowledge. It deprived Africans with tradi-
tional knowledge of their incubator environ-
ment by also removing all freedom of asso-
ciation and organisation. The second reason,
which is related to the first, is colonisation,
which resulted in a distribution of roles and
production that would assimilate Africa as a
reserve of raw materials, as well as physical,
scientific and intellectual resources.

> Scientific tourism

Anyone can draw from this reserve of
raw scientific data. It is an experimen-
tal laboratory which sometimes uses local
staff, even of high level, but to produce
results for external usage. This process of
production of scientific information has
been controlled by the northern countries,
and has contributed to what Hountondji
saw as "scientific tourism", going hand-
in-hand with the African consumption of
scientific goods produced abroad. The fact
that prominent African researchers have
advanced their careers and that laboratories
of major foreign institutes have been set up
in Africa does not change the direction of
the research carried out there.
Goudjinou P. Metinhoue* emphasises that
Africa is penalised by the methodology of


historical research which favours written
sources over oral ones, and in fact overlooks
endogenous knowledge. Methods for critical
analysis of oral sources need to be adopted.

> Fire and rain

Everywhere around the world, technologi-
cal development has been connected to
the use of fire. Alexis Adand* highlights
Africa's contribution to a key technological
discovery, extractive iron metallurgy using
low-shaft furnaces; in other words without
smelting. It was known to have existed in
various African societies for a long time.
However, the theory was surreptitiously
put forward that this knowledge probably
came from Europe via the Middle East. The
precise dating of archaeological findings
from ancient Nigeria put an end to this ten-
dentious speculation. They proved that the
first iron working in vast regions of Africa
definitely dated back to the middle of the
7th century BC and probably up to the
beginning of the Christian period.
Abel Afouda* has examined a form of
traditional African knowledge which is
more difficult to put under the umbrella of
science on the face of it the rainmakers.
However, he presents a scientific explana-
tory theory of the procedure used which
holds ground, at least as a working hypoth-
esis. With regard to the classification of
animals by Linn in the 18th century, the
starting point for modern zoology, J. D.
Pnel* underlines that it was simply based

on characteristics visible to the naked eye,
and demonstrates that the Hausa people
produced a counterpart system.

> Digits and letters

In his "Universal History of Numbers"**,
Georges Ifrah refers to the studies of C.
Zaslavsky on numeration, which show that
the Yoruba people invented a vigesimal
system (base 20) in ancient times, using a
double system of addition and subtraction,
with the advantage that the digits were
short. Incidentally, the English expressions,
one score, two score, as well as many
others from various cultures are based on
this. Bienvenu Akoha* highlights various
forms of writing: the "rcades"*** of the
Dahomey kings, the signs of the Fa and
more elaborate forms in the Ashanti culture.
Without mentioning Egyptian hieroglyphics
except to cast doubt on the African-negro
character of ancient Egypt. H.G. M
* "Les savoirs endognes. Pistes pour une recherch"
(Endogenous Knowledge Research Trails) under the
direction of Paulin Hountondji, Karthala, France.
**Georges Ifrah, "Histoire naturelle des chiffres" (A
Universal History of Numbers), Editions Robert Laffont,
collections Bouquins.
*** Royal sceptres.

Hegel Goutier; Paulin Hountondji;
Goudjinou P. Metinhoue; Alexis
Adand; Abel Afouda; J. D. Pnel;
Georges Ifrah; Bienvenu Akoha; endog-
enous knowledge; Hausa.


After almost two decades characterized by ttffikense effort to fight the invisibility

of African art in the contemporary scene through big pjn African exhibitions,

important publications and participation in biennials now the most appealing

trend in African contemporary aqt i. the involve- nt of th nri n public together

with the participation of local jvernments, j eun a spsors.

r I 1


n recent years we observed the birth of
some extremely interesting initiatives
in several African countries, led by
curators and artists firmly convinced
that it is necessary to bridge the huge divide
between African artists (cultivated, recog-
nized worldwide, and with international rela-
tions) and African citizens living in widely
different conditions. These initiatives move
from the assumption that all people have the
right to access the knowledge and input that
contemporary art can give them. They have
the right to be educated in art interpretation,
and to experience its richness and aesthetic
pleasure that it can give. They have the right
to visit a contemporary art gallery and enjoy
it. Africa must open its eyes to its artistic
A contemporary African art gallery was
opened in 2005 by the Zinsou Foundation in
Cotonou (Republic of Benin), a private foun-
dation set up by a retired Beninese bank-
er (www.fondationzinsounews.org). The
foundation, led by the young Marie-Ccile
Zinsou, daughter of the principal sponsor
Lionel Zinsou, aims at promoting contem-
porary African artists, art exchanges, wider
access to contemporary arts, and a universal
appreciation of African art. The gallery holds
exhibitions and children's art workshops.
The Foundation became an incontestable
cultural point in Cotonou. From its open-
ing it was visited by three million mostly
young people, thanks to free entrance and

to partnerships with several schools in the
city. The artistic programme started with the
Beninese artist Romuald Hazoum, and con-
tinued with celebrated painter Jean-Michael
Basquait; born in New York from a Haitian
father and a Puerto Rican mother; an exhibi-
tion about voodoo and one of the Beninese
king Bhanzin d'Abomey (1844-1906).
But these initiatives do not consider exclu-
sively African works but look outside the
borders of the continent as stated by Sindika
Dokolo, the Congolese patron that decided
to create in Luanda "an African collection
of contemporary art rather than a collection
of contemporaryAfricanart" (www.sindika-
dokolofoundation.org). In 2007, involved by
the dynamic Angolan artist Fernando Alvim,
Dokolo lent the principal group of works to
the African pavilion at the Venice biennale.
He insists that the contemporary African art
world should discontinue its "dependence"
on external aid namely collectors, promot-
ers, and financial support that somehow
distorts its African origin. He also denounc-
es the fact that Africans are not in control of
their own cultural domain and this affects
the content of their artistic production. He
regards "access to art to be a human right,
just as basic and legitimate as access to edu-
cation, drinking water and health".
Furthermore, the Centre for Contemporary
Art, Lagos (www.ccalagos.org), an inde-
pendent non-profit organisation set up in
December 2007 with the curatorship of

Bisi Silva, insists on the involvement of the
African public and on the development and
professionalisation of artistic production and
curatorial practice in Nigeria and the West
African region. It presents a programme of
workshops, talks, seminars, performances,
movie screenings and exhibitions such as
the currently running 'The World is Flat',
an international collaboration with Danish
curator Johanne Loegstrup. Bisi Silva also
curated the exhibition 'In the Light of Play'
at the Joburg Art Fair.
Doual'art is a contemporary art centre creat-
ed in 1991 in Cameroon by Marilyn Douala
Bell and Didier Schaub. The centre is carry-
ing out an important job for the involvement
of the local public, fostering cultural projects
and site-specific art interventions within the
city of Douala. (www.doualart.org)
We have mentioned just some examples, but
it seems that in the 21st century, the African
contribution to the history of world-art can
be important and can involve both artists
and public including the Government,
education, museums, galleries, Academies
of Fine Art and collectors in telling the
world of the high level and diversity of
African art. M

African contemporary art; Lionel Zinsou
Foundation; Marie-Ccile Zinsou;
Sindika Dokolo; Bisi Silva; Centre for
Contemporary Art in Lagos; Joburg Art
Fair; Doual'art.


1 -1qI


Andrea Marchesini Reggiani


Uectors for development

n African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) countries cultural industries
still struggle to reach stability, which
is a crucial factor for valuing the
richness of talent. Louis Michel, European
Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid, and Jan Figel', European
Commissioner for Education, Training,
Culture and Youth, wished to promote
three working days, inviting more than 150
cultural professionals from both European
Union (EU) and ACP countries, with the
aim of highlighting the importance of the
link between culture and development.
Many artistic protagonists from ACP, such
as the art curator Yacouba Konate, the
writer Vronique Tadjo, the dancer and
choreographer Germaine Acogny, the sing-

er Rokia Traor, and many other editors,
directors, painters, musicians, fashion styl-
ists, and managers, were given the chance
to report and share their job experiences
made of achievements as well as obstacles,
and were encouraged to express all of their
needs and prompt concrete suggestions.
"We consider culture not as a static fac-
tor to be protected, but as an economic
and political activity in evolution", stated
Stefano Manservisi, European Commission
Director General for Development, in his
welcome speech: "we consider these pro-
fessional workshops extremely important
to understand how the Commission can
best do its federating job, drawing on all
the experiences which exist in the European
territory and linking them with what is cur-

rently produced in the ACP countries in
order to establish a more systematic politi-
cal action and reach a real cooperation."
Five workshops took place on the first day,
in relation to the performing arts (theatre,
dance and street art), visual arts (painting,
sculpture, photography, fashion design),
audiovisual (cinema and television), lit-
erature and music. During the second day,
five common and parallel workshops were
organised: the themes were cultural com-
munication, training, legal frameworks and
access to financing, creation and produc-
tion, distribution and circulation in the
cultural market.
The workshop on the audiovisual theme,
coordinated by Charles Mensah, Chairman
of the Pan-African Film-makers Federation,

and Touissant Tiendreabogo, film producer,
analysed the film-making sector in Africa.
There is a strong demand from the popula-
tion for images and stories that can reflect
their daily life and their personal vision of
the world. But there are also obstacles such
as the lack of efficient public cultural poli-
cies, the absence of national financing, the
weakness of local production that doesn't
help to acknowledge the savoir-faire and
new talent, the lack of respect for copyright
due to piracy and the absence of appropriate
fiscal and custom policies.
The literature and comics workshop, direct-
ed by Beatrice Lalinon (Ruisseaux edition,
Bnin), suggested promoting exchanges
between all editors, in addition to writing
workshops, local literature competitions,
and educational initiatives on reading; the
delegates claimed the necessity of forc-
ing governments to respect the Florence
Agreement* which requires the abolish-
ment of tax on cultural products, although
in many customs regimes 1 kg of comics is
taxed as much as 1 kg of coal.
Cultural operators across all sectors under-
lined a few common needs, for example a
special 'cultural visa', and some common
problems such as the weak insight of ACP
governments that often don't propose (as it
is the commission that finalises these docs)
culture in their national and regional plans
(NIP and RIP), which excludes the possibil-
ity of receiving EU financing. Furthermore,
the operators often lamented the excessive
and complex bureaucracy of the European
call for proposals, even for little amounts
of money, and, above all, the difficulty in
managing this financing due to strict rules
which kill the creativity and flexibility of
cultural production.
The opening ceremony of the Colloquium
was then held on the afternoon of 2 April,
with many ministers of culture from ACP
countries taking part. The president of
Mali, Amadou Toumani Tour, underlined
the awareness and commitment of his gov-
ernment in Mali in defending their nation-
al heritage, recognizing that their land is
"a rich heritage of myths, legends and
extremely beautiful cities. A richness which
is a national cohesive factor and an attrac-
tion for cultural tourism". Commissioner
Louis Michel hinted at many projects and
cultural events in different ACP coun-
tries which have been financed by the
Commission and claimed that "culture is an
effective antidote against the indifference

and intolerance which lead to cultural con-
flicts" especially in this historical period in
which "crisis may cause the worst attitudes
of exclusion, racism and egoism".
The conference concluded with the reading
of the Brussels declaration** by artists and
cultural professionals and entrepreneurs,
which starts with a lament: "After so many
conferences where clear diagnoses were
established and specific recommendations
were made but not pursued; after so many
resolutions, programmes and action plans
rarely put into practice, it is with a mixture
of scepticism and hope that we have come
to participate in this Colloquium."
We quote just two recommendations, the
ones that cultural operators have put in the
first line: "to local, national and regional
authorities: include culture as a priority,
taking into account the NIPs and RIPs on
cooperation and the Poverty Reduction
i,.iI.._- Papers" and "to the European
Union: support local, national and govern-
ment authorities in the implementation of
the actions mentioned above and in particu-
lar encourage them to integrate culture in
NIPs and RIPs."
Looking ahead, it is very clear who needs to
make the next move. I

* The Florence Agreement is an international agreement
facilitating the free flow of books, publications and
educational, scientific and cultural materials signed in
Florence (Italy) in 1950.

** To find the full text of the declaration : http://

Rokia Traor.
Richard Dumas

International Colloquium Culture and creativity -
Vectors for development, Brussels, 2-3 April 2009.
From top:
SEM Abdou Diouf, Secretary-General of La
Francophonie Former President of Senegal;
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid, and SEM Amadou
Toumani Toure, President of the Republic of Mali;
Lupwishi Mbuyamba, Executive Director- Observatory
of cultural policies in Africa (OCPA), Mozambique;
Germaine Acogny, Dancer and Choreographer-
Director of the Ecole des Sables, Senegal.

Culture; creativity; Bruxelles; col-
loque; Louis Michel; Jan Figel;
Amadou Toumani Tour; Stefano
Manservisi; Germaine Acogny; Beatrice
Lalinon; Charles Mensah; Touissant



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The lists of countries published by The Courier do not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future. The Courier uses maps from a variety of sources.
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