July 4, 2022

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Rabat, the capital of African culture, or when Morocco finds its home

Khalid Tamer

By Farida Moha

In Dakar, where the fourteenth edition of the Biennale de Lars has just been held, as in ” Thinking Workshops Everyone shares the conclusion: Africa must regain the ability to describe itself, to name itself, and to explain itself in order to open up and appear to the world.

In Rabat, at the recent book fair during the debate on the promotion of African cultures, the writer Eugene Ibode emphasized the importance of returning cultural property to Africa, in Fez at the Festival of Sacred Music, at the conference ” Tangier Dialogue “The importance of religious exchange is highlighted by the different speakers. In Tangiers in particular, Anthony Blinker, the US Secretary of State, describes Morocco as ” A bridge between civilizations When Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita called for dialogue between the West and the Islamic world.

Khaled Tamek has always heard the message of the importance of culture. Franco-Moroccan born in Casablanca, international cultural expert, creator of festivals in Paris, Bamako, Marrakech, Montreal, first Moroccan president of the International Commission for Francophone Theatre, Vice-President of the Marrakech Biennale and member of the International Committee of Massa, the African live arts festival organized in Abidjan. He is one of the pioneers of the capitals of African culture. Maintenance work

  • Diplomatic Morocco: Perhaps a word about yourself at the beginning of a very rich journey that takes you from Casablanca to Montreal via Paris, Bamako, Marrakech?

Khaled Tamek : Simply put, I would say that I am a cultural expert who is part of a very rich African culture that often lacks the tools to do so. One such tool is the African Capitals of Culture project that we have been trying to create since 2014. At the time, it was a project of the African Union which would then be adopted by many cultural actors in continuing to meet in Cote D. ‘Ivoire in Ghana in South Africa. In 2014, we thought it would be interesting for cities to lead the project and program with the support of the Ministry of Culture. This support is necessary and gives full meaning to the initiative.

  • Therefore, Rabat was launched as the capital of African culture, is it the first version that involves all the challenges?

We have to organize the event. Morocco is well populated in this aspect both in terms of cultural infrastructure and its position as an open country, crossroads of Arab African and European civilizations, multicultural, I was pleasantly surprised to return to Morocco with its abundance of cultural facilities. , there is great potential with the Mohammed VI Museum, the Royal Academy, the universities, the new theater being created, the circus school, the film school… Rabat, the capital of African culture will give a greater vision of this potential not only in Africa but in the world, because culture is everywhere . Rabat can become a center for diagnosis, reflection, construction and creation of African culture during this year, and this will allow us to assess where we are, where we want to go, by what means and with what tools.

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  • There are strong shifts in the field of culture. There is a debate about the return of African cultural heritage, the response being that it is an issue of global cultural reconstruction, and there is awareness of the importance of culture in the development of countries. How do you monitor these discharges?

We can see the emergence of a whole dynamic with the consciousness of heads of state. One of Macky Sall’s first initiatives when he came to power was to budget for the Dakar Biennale, one of the largest contemporary art biennials in West Africa. Morocco was the guest of honor and this biennial highlights the work of new generations of artists from the continent and from the diaspora spread all over the world. The African Union refers to the diaspora as 6The tenth the continent. His Majesty also invested heavily in culture and plastic arts, and raised cultural diplomacy to its highest levels. During the COVID period, we have come to realize that culture is also a market. Cultural entrepreneurs worked in the digital sphere and earned royalties. We have to work so that our artists have the opportunity to live from their art independently. And this is across the board: architecture, food, clothing and heritage that must go back to Africa. President Senghor and President Wade launched the debate on restoring this heritage is not recent, through the Pan-African Festival of Reflection. This should be thought through collective intelligence policies with artists and elected officials. I hope it will be Rabat’s initiative African Capital of Culture It will set the tone and the possibility for other African capitals to participate in structuring the artists’ mobility. There are 54 countries in Africa, plus Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros, so a large African cultural market will be built that will require lifting visas for artists

  • You are talking about the openness of African culture to the world. How and with what tools and is there a Western acceptance of the emergence of African culture?

One of the links in this opening is the diaspora. My father is Moroccan, I grew up in France like Jamel Debbouze and many others. We are rich with a double identity and it is these members of the diaspora who can act as a bridge because they are here and there and they can build this dynamic. They represent the hope of this new soul that can transcend all resistance. It must be remembered that culture is not just theater or dance, it is universal and related to gastronomy and fashion. Together with elected officials, the public sector, and the private sector, we can build a reflection on the importance of culture. With synergy, collective intelligence and a royal will, the bond can set the tone. Bringing first structuring scales. We must not forget, as Jean-Pierre Mbassi reminds us, that Americans do not travel if there is no airport and hospital in the city. It is all part of what I call the multi-link structure that will make the event a success. Rabat is an organized city that has all the links to become a cultural capital and to make African culture a smart tool by bringing in African experts and artists. It will be necessary to remember that Africa is not only francophone but also english, portuguese and arabic. And that in Africa, there are more than a thousand languages ​​that have fallen due to population, it is our heritage.

  • If we talk at the end of 2023 about the success of Rabat, the capital of African culture, what is the goal that would achieve this success?

This year’s program is to follow up on His Majesty’s speech when he said in 2017, upon the Kingdom’s return to the African Union, that he was happy to find his family and Morocco to find its home. Remember these very powerful words “It is a beautiful day when we come home after a long absence. It is a beautiful day when we bring our hearts to the beloved homeland Africa, my continent and my country” Success in Rabat means that Morocco is rediscovering. Africanism through exchanges, emotions and vibrations of art and culture. If tomorrow’s school programs, for example, integrate African authors, such as Sengo, Cheikh Anta Diop, Chinua Aship, Maryama ba Hampathy Mba … and others, then merge the anecdotes because let’s not forget that we are oralers, we have succeeded. The most important thing is to sow the seeds in Rabat to get the baobab trees in this beautiful African capital.

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