"At the beginning there was an idea: to organise a Season of African Cultures in France. I accepted the invitation to pilot this Season to give it meaning. I started by organising a workshop in Saint-Louis, Senegal, in June 2018. Consulting with four prominent African figures, we identified 13 issues that are the focus of intellectual, scientific and artistic research and productions in a continent that covers 30 million sq.km with more than 1.2 billion inhabitants. Dissemination of knowledge; Social networks; Technological innovations; Redistribution of resources; Financial flows; Economic emancipation; History; Memory; Archives; Circulation of people, ideas and goods; Territory; Political conscience and movements; Citizenship.
Based around the major issues of the 21st century, the Africa2020 Season is a laboratory for the production and dissemination of ideas and knowledge. A sounding board for agents of change, it is the foundation of a collective ideal of political, social, economic and cultural emancipation carried by peoples facing the same challenges on African soil.
Co-produced by African cultural professionals in partnership with French organisations, the Africa2020 Season is a pan-African and multidisciplinary project, focused on innovation in the arts, sciences, technologies, entrepreneurship and the economy. It puts people at the centre, places education at the heart of its programming, pays tribute to women and targets youth as a priority.
A season based on three principles
The Africa2020 headquarters are temporary pan-African centres, hives of storytelling and imagination with multidisciplinary programming over several weeks.
There are 12 in total, in different regions of France, including Martinique.
Women Focus is dedicated to more than half the population of the African continent. African professional women have designed projects that increase the visibility of women from Africa and its modern diaspora. We have produced 30 Focuses on African Women in the arts, sciences and entrepreneurship.
The Education Dimension is a platform for learning and participatory knowledge production, divided into several programmes.
In addition to the various educational and youth projects, higher education institutions have integrated projects into their educational programmes.
The mentoring programme I dreamed of has become a reality. Thanks to AFD and France Volontaires, 11 young people from 11 African countries have joined partner institutions for a community service project over several months.
The General History of Africa, initiated by UNESCO in 1964, is an African perspective of the history of the entire continent, from the emergence of man to the present day. At the request of the African Union, UNESCO has produced educational tools based on the eight volumes of this pioneering work. Made available to African states, they aim to harmonise the teaching of African history throughout the continent. As part of the Africa2020 Season, I suggested offering these teaching tools to France. They were entrusted to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports , which, in partnership with UNESCO, has set up a national training plan for the drafting of teaching materials and the training, this year, of 150 primary school teachers on teaching in Africa. The Ministry has also enabled 350 educational projects to be carried out in schools in France, in partnership with African schools.
A long-term project
Directing this season for 40 months was an obstacle course. And when Covid 19 knocked on the door, the subtitle of this project took on its full meaning. This invitation to look at and understand the world from an African perspective forced our French partners to take nothing for granted, to constantly reinvent themselves in the face of uncertainty and discouragement. I invited them to show pragmatism, innovation and to resist the temptation to throw in the towel. And I have infused this Africa2020 Season with the resilience that is so characteristic of Africa, so that we can collectively overcome all challenges.
Although the Africa2020 Season officially draws to a close on 30 September 2021, this human adventure is not over. A new page is turning, because this Season is just one chapter in the long history of a global movement of which we are the heirs and artisans. We are the transmitters and emitters of currents of thought which have inspired and impacted creative minds on all continents for centuries.
This extraordinary Season would not have been possible without the Institut français, Africa2020 Season operator, and the people who have come to support it; the Africa2020 Season Patrons' Committee; the AFD; the Ministries of Culture, Europe and Foreign Affairs, Education, Youth and Sports; France Volontaires; UNESCO; our media partners; the benevolent support of the advisory committee; the 210 partner cities inmetropolitan and overseas France; the 489 partner organisations on the African continent and the 422 in France.
Warm thanks to Badr, Bambara and Fatoumata, the 3 characters from the Africa2020 Season poster and to photographer Omar Victor Diop, whose eye has captured the essence of this very special Season with intelligence and subtlety.
To the Africa2020 Season's programming committee: Mamadou Diouf, Amadou Fall Ba, Julia Grosse, Yvonne Mburu, Aphrodice Mutangana, Yvette Mutumba, Neo Muyanga, Jay Pather, Alex Moussa Sawadogo, Aristide Tarnagda and Mohamed Zoghlami.
To the comrades from the outset, my four brains from Saint-Louis, without whom this Season would have been an empty shell: Ntone Edjabe, Nontobeko Ntombela, Folakunle Oshun and Sarah Rifky."
N'Goné Fall is the General Commissioner for the Africa2020 Season.
Initiated by Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, the Africa2020 Season took place throughout France (mainland and overseas territories) from December 2020 to September 2021. It was dedicated to the 54 states of the African continent. Find out more about the Africa2020 Season
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