The hard and unceasing effort by the organizing committee of Africa Festival Stuttgart was successfully crowned this year too as numerous of fans including local German politicians, and lovers of African culture, fully occupied the beautiful compound , Erwin Schottle Platz, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of African cultural events at Heslach , southern Stuttgart..
Stuttgart African festival this time made it different. Instead of “tamtam drumming echoes” as usual, a podium was provided for collaborative intellectual exchange of ideas to implement better solutions for the continent´s vast unsolved problems. This year´s event, was under the motto -- --- --- “Better perspective for Somalia” with an intention of bringing the devastated and inhuman circumstances of the people of Somalia into awareness.
Dwelling on the chosen theme, experts, namely, Dr Markus Höhne and Dr Helmut Hess were invited to comment upon the socio.-political as well as the deteriorated ecological issue of the forgotten country, Somalia, at the Old Firework Station( Altes Feuerwehrhaus) in Heslach.
Dr Markus Hohne brought in his contention that nothing new has been achieved so far in Somalia and it seems to remain as a forgotten country along the horn of Africa. Why should leaders of the World shy away from the inhuman atrocities, hunger and starvation as well as crucial living condition of the Somalian Folk? Is that however not another form of political scandal and irresponsible attitude of the World decision makers to stay unconcerned whilst the children of the horn of Africa are hoping against hope for their survival? Well, the atmosphere of uncertainty and posterity would confirm that Africa festival Stuttgart has put a serious message across, and apparently, assisting in any means necessary to bring hope and better perspective to the destitute Somalians.
Exhibition of African arts and craft, presentation of African mode, story - telling for children and varieties of programs highlighted the colorful 10th year anniversary. Lovers of African music this year were enthralled with tunes from powerful Artists including the famous Makoomba cultural ---- --Band from Zimbabwe, the Senegalese born Loius Jean and the Irie Rainbow as well as the dynamic songstress, Gabriela Mendes and the Conjumbo Creolo of Cape Verde.
A highest attendance ever recorded since the inception of the festival was registered on the eve of Saturday, when Louis Jean and the Irie Rainbow (Berlin) thrilled the fully crowded atmosphere with their Reggae tunes as well their pulsating West African Mbalax musical elements. “I think it is time the organizers look for a bigger place, I can´t get myself through the congested crowd and as you are aware we are all here to have fun but not suffocation ” Mr Kpakpo Quaye, a constant visitor of the festival charged.
Indeed, the 10th African festival in Stuttgart has once again transported a cultural engagement message across and the historical response by the tolerance and industrious Schwabians (an ethnic group in southern Germany) is a confirmation that, Stuttgart have fully embraced the African culture. The city Lord Mayor Wolfgang Schuster stated some few weeks before the event that…………. “Africa festival in Stuttgart is a meeting point for people of all nationals both old and young” Mr Schuster recommended the organizers, African festival Stuttgart e.v for their wonderful performance which enriches Stuttgart cultural atmosphere as well as intercultural understanding in general. “ Such initiatives in our international city (Stuttgart) deserve greater respect and unconditional acceptance ” The Lord Mayor stated.
In retrospect, the tiny seed being planted ten years ago by a group of Africans and their German friends has grown up with a bounty harvest today. The debut Africa festival in Stuttgart took place from the 11th -13th of July 2002 attracting more than 7000 audience. Many regards goes to the founding active members of African Union Stuttgart e.v and Forum Africa Stuttgart e.v. in fusion came into agreement to improve African cultural environment here in Baden Wurttemberg. Eventually, a new child, by name Africa Festival Stuttgart e.v.was born with an objective to bring African Culture in a wider spectrum in Stuttgart and her suburb. The organization also promote bilateral African –German cultural relationship and support international human rights of equality irrespective of color, religion, gender, creed or race.
“I am very glad that our endeavor has proved futile, looking forward confidently for higher success in the coming years ahead” Mr Richard Mvondo, a Cameroon born cultural ambassador and Chairperson of the African Festival Stuttgart e.v. commented after the event.
Many, many, thanks goes to the numerous sponsors including the Municipal Council of Stuttgart and various media representatives. Kudos also goes to all those who for the past ten years have supported the good course in all different ways, for instance, children projected programs by Competent School Centre of Silberburg and constant media coverage by Radio Africa Stuttgart respectively.
David Adu Boahene (Media practitioner, Stuttgart,Germany)