After its 29th edition – held in in Accra in honour of Marcus Mosiah Garvey – Arctivism, the biannual pan-African festival which fuses art and activism returns with a landmark event in the historically significant city of Ouidah in Benin.
Arctivism has over the years been keen on disseminating pan-African consciousness among African youth. One of its prime ways of doing this is by centering each edition of the festival on an African/Black figure who’s played a role in the global African/Black liberation struggle.
This 30th edition of Arctivism is in honour of the erudite scholar, Cheikh Anta Diop. Diop’s seminal works were groundbreaking in the field of Egyptology and beyond. Among other feats, his oeuvre disproved falsified, Eurocentric accounts of Ancient Egypt.
Elom 20ce, artist, activist plus founder of Arctivism says of this Cheikh Anta Diop edition of the festival: “This was initially scheduled for February, which was the month in which Cheikh Diop, the brilliant thinker and scientist who restored the dignity of African people, left us, in the year 1986.”
And on why the event is happening in Ouidah, Benin, Elom related: “Ouidah is a historic city. Massive slave trading activities took place in that city in the time of the transatlantic slave trade, and the city still bears the scars.” Going to Ouidah then, for Arctivism, is “a way of protecting ourselves from repetition, rejecting amnesia and facing our truth.”
There is also Honorat Aguessy, a Professor of the pan-African centre, Institute of Delveopment and Endogenious Exchange (I.D.E.E.) – in Ouidah. Professor Honorat Anguessy was a contemporary of Cheikh Anta Diop who has so much anecdotes to share about the scientist. IDEE could also use some more popularity and revitalisation. All of these add up to make Ouidah a relevant destination for the 30th edition of Arctivism.
As per regular Arctivism programming, ther’ll be a screening of a documentary on the life and work on Cheikh Anta Diop, stimulating exchanges, and, of course, an exciting musical concert to climax it all.
Artists performing thi year are from the host nation Benin, Togo and Ghana. Among them are Elom 20ce himself and Ghana’s Stevoo Atambire & The Alostmen.
Arctivism takes place at the premises of I.D.E.E. – on the last day of this month, at 6 pm.