by Kathryn Hadley
The Second Pan-African Cultural Festival officially opened in Algiers on Sunday July 5th, Algerian independence day, with a concert in the capital. 48 countries are taking part in the festival gathering over 8,000 artists and writers from all over Africa.
The festival is organised by the Organisation of African Unity and the Algerian government to mark forty years since the original festival in July 1969, which, in the aftermath of the colonial era, celebrated African art and culture in the belief that Africans had the capacity to shape their own history. Focusing on the theme of African Renaissance, this year’s events include theatre productions, film screenings, exhibitions, dance, music and a series of lectures.
From July 13th to 15th, a conference entitled ‘L’entreprise coloniale et la lutte armée de libération en Afrique’ will consider the history of liberation movements in Africa, how the struggle for independence in Algeria inspired other movements and the Algerian decision to support other struggles for independence in Africa and worldwide. Two other conferences will explore the original Pan-African Festival held in 1969 and the history of colonisation in Africa. The festival will also include a presentation and screening of two documentaries by the Algerian cineaste Lamine Merbah and the South African Suleyman Ramadan on the theme ‘Algeria and liberation movements’.
For further information on the original festival read our article by Martin Evans published in our July issue Decolonising Minds: The Pan-African Cultural Festival