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Festivals and public space in African cities

Moderated by Faisal Kiwewa

Panelists: Neo Maditla, Marion Louisgrand, Eugene Kavuma, Adrian Jankowiak, Sarah Bushra

Due to paradigmatic changes at local and global levels, cities face the need to reinvent themselves in order to remain or become competitive. In this context, festivals and events are perceived as key elements in the process of urban development as they have the potential to contribute to economic, social, cultural and environmental revitalization.

In Africa, for many centuries, festivals have continued to play a significant roles in contributing to the characters of individuals, fostering a common narrative and sustaining indigenous communities. Currently, many African cities have not only embraced the concept of organizing festivals but also integrated new mediums of arts programming that have made them more relevant to tourism and the experiencing economy.

Together with this panel, we intend to summarize our discussion with a Mombasa declaration outlining the role and benefits of festivals and events in African cities as a recommendation that our organizers will help forward to the African Union with the help and support of the African Crossroads initiative.