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Hivos Launches African Crossroads 2020 Hybrid Edition

African Crossroads is a community of future-oriented African thinkers and doers which collaborates all year long and critically reflects on the most cutting-edge entrepreneurial, scientific, artistic, and technological developments anchored in African intellectual and technological traditions.

THE African Crossroads network is happy to launch its 2020 hybrid event this week.

Running under the theme of “Re-imagining the pan-African dream – reflecting on the past, experiencing the present and imagining the future”, this year’s edition will be held on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of December. It balances an online and offline program of workshops, discussions, installations, augmented reality, live performances, and virtual exhibitions, with a complimentary “Bira” performance from the great legend, Thomas “Mukanya aka The Lion of Zimbabwe” Mapfumo, who is the guest of Honor.

As always, diversity and collaboration are at the heart of the program of the African Crossroads 2020 hybrid event.

Initiated by Hivos, African Crossroads is a community of future-oriented African thinkers and doers which collaborates all year long and critically reflects on the most cutting-edge entrepreneurial, scientific, artistic, and technological developments anchored in African intellectual and technological traditions.

Created in 2018, the network now counts an active community of more than 250 delegates from more than 35 African countries.

In 2020, as a response to the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world, the network started to meet online for a series of monthly online gatherings to discuss and reflect their own realities, exchange knowledge and skills, and further collaborate.

After a 2018 edition around the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and a 2019 edition around “Sensing the City”, this year’s event invites you to experiment with AR tools, discuss the role of African creatives and entrepreneurs towards a greener economy, learn how to design attractive online workshops and get more knowledgeable about data literacy.

“Discover new ways to exhibit online, get to know the latest developments of the African gaming industry, immerse yourselves in African sounds, and dance to the groovy beats of our guest of Honor, Thomas Mapfumo,” the organisers said in a statement to the press.

The event will be live-streamed on African Crossroads YouTube channel and hosted offline in seven hubs across Africa. The hubs are Enthuse Afrika (Harare, Zimbabwe), Swahili Pot Hub (Mombasa, Kenya), Barefeet Theatre (Lusaka, Zambia), El Space (Tunis, Tunisia), Mhub (Lilongwe, Malawi), Karen Village (Nairobi, Kenya), and hFactor (Lagos, Nigeria).

Here are a few tips about what you definitely shouldn’t miss during the African Crossroads 2020 Edition

1. Thursday 12.00: 12:15/ The Sandra Suubi Performance

Enjoy the powerful voice of Sandra Suubi, Ugandan singer, songwriter & visual artist.

2. Thursday 12;45/ Resolving Conflict: Alternative pathways through storytelling

Join this interactive workshop explore storytelling as a tool for policymaking towards Pan-African futures. Learn about different pathways of resolving conflict. When there is a conflict and dynamics seems to stagnate, there is always a way forward. As long as we are keen to come together.

3. Thursday 12: 45-13:35/ For Tech Junkies: Skills learning and networking workshop

Application building, game creation, interactive modelling, VR and filming: Find out how Woelab has successfully developed a continental mobile exhibition application PLUS. Nairobi Design Week is bringing together collaboration in the African Crossroads network to develop an interactive musical experience in the LDB21 “At the river” project. Learn more about Warshmallows, Walid Sultan’s latest Nordic game application, Charmaine Chitate’s 3D and VR Storytelling experience, Thando Gwinji’s filming and videography techniques and finally more on Feisal Malik’s AR, VR and wildlife filming journey. Moderated by Bethlehem Anteneh (Game-thinking specialist).

With: Adrian Jankowiak (KE), Bethlehem Anteneh (ET) (moderator), Charmaine Chitate (ZI), Feisal Malik (KE), Sename Koffi (TGO/FR), Thando Gwinji (ZI), Walid Sultan (TUN)

4. Thursday 12:45-13:45/ Sonicities of independence and healing: African Forum

Join the forum on Sonicities of independence and healing, and let’s talk about sound in the context of political, environmental and cultural consciousness. This discussion is inspired by research on soundscapes, landscapes, emotional attachment and resilience by Prof. Olusegun Titus and Prof. Mhoze Chikowero; connecting history, art and new media through the work of Tribeless Youth, and lived experiences of visual and performing artist, Sandra Suubi.

With: Prof. Mhoze Chikowero (ZI), Prof. Olusegun Titus (NG), Sandra Suubi (UG), Shiko Kihika (KE), Tushar Hathiramani (NG)

5. Thursday 12:45-13:45 /Stories from the African Crossroads network: Listen, Learn and Love

Listen to the touching, informative and inspiring stories of a lovely bunch of people from the African Stories network. HadinQo and Greenobi bring you in the right mood with their production. Abdellah Hassak takes you on a journey of sound documentation. Sounds are coming and going in our lives, which sounds should be documented and why? Leila Ben Gacem had to temporarily close her business and now struggling the ‘survive’ just like many businesses around her. That was when she decided to become a podcast maker. Listen to her experiences along the way. Mamadu Hady Sow and Moncef Ben Rajeb share the same passion for agriculture and the mission on re-valuing crops. What is their approach to bring undervalued crops to the market and how could this approach be replicated in other contexts? Phillip Ayazika developed a series of practical guides for online activists, from data privacy to organizing Whatsapp meetings, and much more. What guide would be interesting for you and people in your community?

With: Abdellah Hassak (MA), Greenobi (KE), HadinQo (ET), Leila Ben Gacem (TUN), Mamadu Hady Sow (SL), Moncef Ben Rajeb (TUN), Phillip Ayazika (UG).

6. Thursday 15:30-16:00/The Avatar party ft. Bengatronics

Kenya-based independent record label — on Thursday afternoon, December 10th. Funky grooves and smooth moves. This is where the party starts.

7. Friday: Michel Ongaro (KE) Performance: 13:00 – 13:15

Listen to the beautiful spirit of Michel Ongaro while he takes us back to the memories we created at the Kenyan coast in 2019. Michel Ongaro revisits his track Watu Wamoja – Swahili equivalent of One People, a song that challenges us to look for unity beyond racial and language barriers.

8. Friday: 13:30- 13:45/ The past, present and future of the Mombasa Declaration

Entrepreneurial and creative collectives are an economic driver for municipalities, but often do not receive recognition and support. That is why Faisal Kiwewa set up the Declaration of Mombasa to promote the role and benefits of festivals and events for African cities. This declaration came to life during the last edition of African Crossroads in Mombasa, Kenya, was signed by many and led to recognition and support.

With: Faisal Kiwewa (KE)

9. Friday 13:45-14:45/The Hub Manager Meetup

A special session for the Hub Managers among us. It has been a challenging year and that needs to be acknowledged. What insights did you get from this year, what are the biggest questions you are sitting with, and what is your intention for 2021? With: Rudo Nyangulu-Mungofa (Executive Director of Stimulus Africa) to kick-off the conversation and Nekesa Were (Director of Strategy at AfriLabs) as the facilitator.

10. Friday 15:00 – 15:45: Hub Showcase: Sensing the physical

Facilitated by: Nekesa Were (KE). Yes, the physical world still exists! Let yourself be guided through different Hubs and enjoy the beautiful hybridity of this year’s African Crossroads edition.

With: O’Brien Makore (ZI), and more.

11. Friday 1500-1545/Storytelling by a legend: Thomas Mapfumo

Moderated by: Gregg Tendwa (KE), Sit back, relax and listen. Let the words of a great legend, Thomas “Mukanya aka The Lion of Zimbabwe” Mapfumo, inspire you and feel his spirit firing up the Pan African Dream. Enjoy the journey of musical visionary, fearless social critic, and certainly one of the greatest African bandleaders of the past century in a revolutionary spiritual performance.

Check out the African Crossroads 2020 Hybrid Edition program on https://www.africancrossroads.org/

Pictures Credit: Thomas Mapfumo by Afropop.org

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller/Critic at Large in Culture at Enthuse Afrika

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