Feedback on the NSAF in Montpellier and session on CCI at Alliance française de Kampala [fr]
The Alliance Française’s basement, a new space within its premises regularly used for artistic performances, was the venue for two convivial sequences: the first devoted to the return to Uganda of personalities linked to various sectors of civil society who had been invited to participate in the New Africa-France Summit (NSAF) organised in Montpellier; the second centred on the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI).
Sequence 1: The New Africa-France Summit (NSAF) in Montpellier: assessment and prospects
The first session was moderated by Sandrah Kahumuza (journalist and founder of UEYI Initative), who was also one of the personalities invited to Montpellier for the NSAF. The discussion allowed each of the guests to reflect on their experience in France. What were the expectations of the young professionals? What did they think of the format of the event? What lessons and perspectives did they draw from the exchanges with the French President, Emmanuel Macon? In their respective fields, was the meeting with numerous personalities from the African continent fruitful?
The guests, including Pheonah Wall (president of the Uganda Law Society), Daudi Karungi (director of Afri Art Gallery, winner of Afrique Créative 2019), Dr Misaki Wayengera or Julia Matovu (agro-ecology engineer), were able to share their remarks and criticisms in complete transparency with the ambassador and the various embassy departments involved in the event. The format of the meeting allowed for a frank and benevolent dialogue, both between the guests and between the guests and the French embassy, in the spirit of the NSAF. On the whole, the personalities welcomed several points: the freedom of the discussions; the youth and openness of the participants; the interest of the links with France in a regional perspective in East Africa; the need to continue these meetings at the level of the African continent. They nevertheless deplored the short and dense format of the NSAF.
Sequence 2: The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sector in Uganda: what obstacles does Uganda face? What advantages does the country nevertheless have?
The aim of the second session was to rediscover the links that the French Embassy has always maintained with the cultural and artistic milieu in Uganda, notably through the Alliance française. The Covid crisis has indeed kept the actors of the sector at a distance for a long time; it was the first time that such an exchange between professionals and the embassy had taken place since the pandemic. Suzan Kerunen (fusion artist), David Masango (founder of Crossroads digital multimedia Ltd, winner of Afrique Créative 2019), Dorothy Nabunjo (director of the Xenson Art Space) or the Frenchman Jean-François Heurtaux (video game designer) were present. The discussion was moderated by Eddie Okila, director of the House of Talents, where he facilitates exchanges on CCIs in Uganda and seeks to involve the youth.
The focus of the discussion was twofold. On the one hand, it was about reaffirming what holds the national and local cultures together in Uganda. The meeting allowed the professionals to exchange on the stakes of heritage: what are the assets of Uganda? what are its specificities? How to promote exchanges with other countries? How can its culture and artistic forms be promoted? The issues of multilingualism and forms of regional cooperation were highlighted.
On the other hand, the guests were able to talk about the obstacles to the establishment of the cultural sector as an industry. First of all, they asserted the lack of networking among professionals and the need to have permanent structures to organise the sector and encourage the dynamics of exchange and collaboration.
The two sequences concluded with informal and friendly exchanges with the whole room.