The Festival of Black Arts, FESMAN, was inaugurated in Dakar on Friday , December 10, with the participation of the African continent and the Diaspora, an event organized under the seal of the African Renaissance. Moreover, African intellectuals and the diaspora have been invited to reflect in a forum organized for the occasion entitled "The African diaspora: geography, population, history, political situation." Other conferences and round tables are to focus on the black origins of the ancient Egyptians, the renaissance of black people, etc.
In his opening speech, held at the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium before thousands of people, the president of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, declared Dakar the capital of black African culture until December 31.
Personalities from the political, intellectual, and artistic sphere of Africa and the Diaspora attended the event, a time for celebration. The president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (Mauritania), Malam Bacai Sanha (Guinea Bissau), Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) and the Brazilian Minister for Equal Opportunities, Eloi Ferrero de Araujo, participated, along with Wade in the opening ceremony.
The presence of Benny Wenda was a notorious one, pro-independence leader of West Papua, a Melanesian country (New Guinea) who lives in exile in Great Britain. Wenda used the forum on the African diaspora to launch a distress call to Africans and the world to liberate his people, now colonized by Indonesia. According to Wenda, his country is suffering a real genocide before the silence of the international community.
With great emotion, he said that his ancestors left the black continent 4,000 years ago. "For us, black people from the Pacific, this third FESMAN is the symbol of unity with Africa," he said. And he wondered aloud "Who can help my people to be free?" Before answering himself: "only Africa can."
Another figure of the diaspora, Wyclef Jean, Haitian-born singer took the rostrum of this festival to appeal to African presidents: "Do not walk away from Haiti, a country that has recently experienced an earthquake that left tens of thousands dead.
Today, that same country is languishing under the weight of a cholera epidemic and its trail of death. Jean wanted to be president of Haiti, but he saw his candidacy rejected by the Provisional Electoral Council for not meeting certain requirements to be eligible for the presidency. For example, to be eligible he should have been living for at least five years in the territory on November 28, Election Day. And it was not the case.
Having thanked President Wade for hosting Haitian students in Dakar, the pop star said that "I like Senegal because its president gives youth the opportunity to express themselves."
Wade welcomed people from all over the world to Dakar: people from Africa, America, Europe, Asia, etc. This is the particularity, according to the president, of this third edition of FESMAN, unlike previous editions in Lagos (1977) and Dakar (1966).
President Wade reminded youth the intellectual battle to be won: that of the United States of Africa. "Be prepared for the great battle of the United States of Africa," he said. "Our continent, Wade continued, is rich but has been exploited, impoverished and is still divided. "he battle for African unity is a challenge we must overcome," he said.
On the musical side, the opening concert was worthy of the size of the event with great stars of African music. Ismaila Lô, from Senegal, sang his song Africa, the Ethiopian singer Minyeshu Meba, the three singers of the South African group Mahotella Queensm Baba Maal, Angelique Kidjo of Benin with her song Malalaika, Youssou Ndour with Salagne Salagne, traditional music artists Samba Diabare Samb, Sire Guisse, and Khar Mbaye, Doudou Ndiaye Coumba Rose and his drums, etc. All of this preceded by a beautiful choreography that culminated with a fireworks display.