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Festival au Desert


Mali’s famed (but currently exiled) Festival au Desert comes to South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts Residency in the Eastern Cape.

The Emthonjeni Arts residency programme kicks off the African Caravan for Peace as part of the global call to action and will lead the final leg of Mali’s exiled Festival au Desert as part of the post war re-construction campaign to return the festival back to its original home in Timbuktu in January 2014. The first of the Africans for Africa Network’s pan African exchanges will be hosted by the Emthonjeni Arts with a two-week long residency with artists from the Malian Festival au Desert in December 2013.

During this residency, there will be cross-cultural dialogues, creations and collaborations between the Mali artists, local Xhosa traditional groups from the local community, a Zulu group lead by legendary storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and cultural leaders and thinkers from the South African creative landscape. There will also be cross-generational dialogue during a session of the residency earmarked for emerging artists and young people.

Two events will be open to the public:
13 December – A festival of ideas – the public is invited to engage and celebrate African ideas that have been, but also share ideas that will mould our future. Celebrate a narrative of Africa that defines us as a people of ideas, a people of innovation and creativity. During this festival a youth dialogue will take place where young leaders and emerging artists will meet to discuss the African Narrative and what it means to them. This dialogue will be podcast to different regions.

14 December – in solidarity with the Festival au Desert on their return to Timbuktu, a re-enactment of the festival will be performed at Emthonjeni, in the heart of our own beautiful dunes. All artists will have a stage in the dunes to perform on; and Oumou Sangare will bless the road to Timbuktu with a performance, an ode and a prayer for the road ahead.

Special South African guest artists with voices that have stood for truth, diversity and peace will also give blessings and join the journey.

If you can be there, be there.

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