May 25 is Africa Day, and under normal circumstances, this day would be marked by different activities celebrating Africa’s diverse cultures, but also celebrating the continent’s attainment of freedom from colonial powers. A colourful continent, this day normally would be marked by colorful display s of its visual, literary, musical and theatrical heritages. Concerts would be taking place around the African continent, poetry would be recited on different stages of the continent’s 54 countries, and so would be the launch of new books films, albums and other forms of cultural products celebrating the continent’s artistic and cultural heritages.
And yes even under those normal circumstances and celebrations, some would be questioning the idea of celebrating amidst an atmosphere of repression and the obviously shaky democratic institutions in a lot of counties on the African continent, and yet, it would still be worth the while to celebrate success where there visible signs of improvement of people’s lives since the countries attained freedom.
South Africa has long taken a lead in celebrating this day since the attainment of its democracy through annually putting together Africa Day themed festivals, concerts and exhibitions. And this year this could have been a new impetus to these celebrations especially in South Africa with President Cyril Ramaphosa taking charge of the rotating Presidency of the continental body as Chairman of AU.
However all these celebrations this year where they will take place will be in a different form and shape because of the advent of the hugely disruptive coronavirus, which is posing an unprecedented threat to public health on the continent and has negatively affected both economic and social lives among the people of the continent.
Artists have been affected most by this devastation of the coronavirus as they are unable to engage meaningful with their audiences, especially arts patrons. As their business relies mainly on gatherings that are not allowed under the lockf=down regulations to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
It is in this spirit that CityLife Arts is running a series of articles engaging with arts business leaders to give a spotlight on their efforts to find new, innovative ways of running sustainable businesses under lockdown.
In this edition of CityLife Arts, you will read the interview we had with Julie Taylor, the director of Guns& Rain gallery, which specialises in showcasing contemporary art and artists from southern Africa. Watch this space as more articles that we hope you will like are in the pipeline as we continue to engage with art business leaders.
In the meantime. Gauteng is to celebrate Africa Day with an online-virtual programme staring Monday 25 May, as the province will join the rest of the continent to celebrate the 57th anniversary of Africa Day, using all available virtual platforms including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.
“This is a continuation of the departmental programme happening throughout the month of May, with a range of digital executions looking at connecting different peoples of the continent through exercise, heritage and the arts.
Being the gateway into the rest of Africa and a leading cosmopolitan destination, the province (Gauteng) has lined up a series of activities including poetry and music by various artists from across the continent.
No less than 10 personalities and artists including local and acclaimed artists from South Africa and the Continent billed to perform.
To support the efforts of the African Union in the decolonisation and regeneration of African, the planned event seeks to promote Pan Africanism and African Cultural Renaissance.
This year sees South Africa taking the chairpersonship of the African Union by President Cyril Ramaphosa,” sasy the department in a statement.
Says MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe; “Africa is a continent rich in culture, heritage spirit of ubuntu. We have for centuries given so much to the world and it’s about time we not only pat ourselves in the back but also celebrate what is beautifully and globally African. The eyes of the world are deservedly on the African continent especially when it comes to Sport, Arts and Culture because our talent is not only of international standard but has that unique authenticity the world so richly seeks”.
Other activities lined until the end of May Africa month include a virtual fashion show, showcasing of pan African films, webinars and discussions.
Date: 25 May 2020
Platforms: Facebook/Twitter/Insta: @GautengSACR
YouTube : Gauteng Sport Arts Culture and Recreation
Time: 1st Phase: 11:00 -13:00
2nd Phase: 19:00- 20:30