AS part of the celebration of “Rabat, African Capital of Culture” under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI – May God Assist Him – the official commemoration of the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture, JMCA, is celebrated on January 24, 2023, at the hotel La Tour Hassan in Rabat (Morocco).
The African Capitals of Culture program was initiated in 2018 during the Africities Summit held in Marrakech, Morocco, by the leaders and elected representatives of the continent’s local governments grouped within their umbrella organization United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), to celebrate the artistic, cultural, and creative excellence of the African continent by designating a city which would be the African Capital of Culture for two years. Rabat has thus been designated the first African Capital of Culture for the years 2022 and 2023.
The activities organized as part of the celebration of Rabat, African Capital of Culture (R.A.C.C.) are planned and implemented by an Organizing Committee chaired by the Wali of Rabat and comprising the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication of Morocco, the Ministry of the Interior, the Wilaya of Rabat- Salé- Kenitra, the City of Rabat, and UCLG Africa.
It is at the initiative of the African Network of Cultural Promoters and Entrepreneurs (RAPEC), and with the support of the Republic of Togo and of the African Group, that UNESCO proclaimed in 2019 during the 40th session of its General Conference, January 24 of each year as the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture (JMCA). This date coincides with the adoption of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Khartoum, Sudan in 1966.
The JMCA celebrates since 2020 the many living cultures of the African continent and the African diasporas around the world, and promotes them as an effective lever in the service of sustainable development, dialogue, and peace.
This is the first time that activities related to the official commemoration of the JMCA are held in North Africa. This commemoration aims to mark a new stage in the consideration of the contribution of cultural and creative activities to the sustainable development of Africa.
The commemoration of January 24, 2023 will take the form of a day of reflection introduced by an inaugural lecture delivered on the morning of the JMCA by Professor Célestin Monga of the Harvard University (United States), whose subject is: “History of Africa, History of Humanity”. This conference will be followed on the afternoon of January 24, 2023 by three discussion panels around the following themes:
– Promoting African and Afro-descendant culture in the context of the globalized economy;
– Reconciling African youth and their culture: the possibilities offered by digital technologies;
– The contribution of the Diaspora and of Afro-Descendants to the international influence of African culture.
This day of reflection will conclude with an exchange of views and ideas around the proposal for a Manifesto for the regeneration of African and Afro-descendant culture.
The official opening ceremony will be marked by speeches by:
Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO
H.E. Mr. Robert Dussey , Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo, lead country of the JMCA at UNESCO
H.E. Mr. Mohammed Mehdi Bensaid , Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication of Morocco
H.E. Mrs. Ambassador Minata SAMATE CESSOUMA , Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social and Cultural Development of the African Union
Mrs. Asmaa Rhlalou, President of the Council of the City of Rabat
Mr. Ayité Dossavi, President of RAPEC, Initiator of the JMCA
Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
The occasion of the commemoration of the JMCA will also offer the opportunity to the RAPEC network to award an honorary prize entitled: JMCA-KEKELI Prize. This is a prize backed by the celebration of the JMCA, to honor the personalities who work so that African culture contributes to social cohesion, togetherness, peace, and harmony between peoples. For the 2023 edition, five personalities will receive the Kekeli Prize during the closing gala dinner.
The various media and press organizations are invited to cover the official commemoration of the World Day for African and Afro-descendant Culture (JMCA), on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. onwards at the Hotel La Tour Hassan in Rabat, as well as the JMCA-KEKELI Prize award ceremony during the closing gala dinner.
The Communication Department of UCLG Africa is ready to organize and facilitate appointments with the various speakers who appear in the program of the Day, provided that the media and press organs concerned submit their request to said Department at the latest on Monday, January 23 at 12:00 p.m.
As a reminder, it is at the initiative of the African Network of Cultural Promoters and Entrepreneurs (RAPEC), and with the support of the Republic of Togo and of the African Group, that UNESCO proclaimed January 24 as the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture (JMCA), during the 40th session of its General Conference in 2019.
This date coincides with the adoption of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, adopted by the Heads of State and Government of Organization of African Unity (OAU) at their conference held in Khartoum, Sudan in 1966.