Africa’s brightest artistic talents have been awarded today at the inaugural Boma of Africa Festival, spearheaded by the African Union Commission and the AfroChampions Initiative.
In celebration of today’s first-ever Africa Integration Day, creatives and artists were invited to participate in a Creative Challenge to explore and celebrate the journey towards Africa’s future, through a wide range of artistic mediums. Works examined themes including unity, science, the future and globalization.
At a virtual ceremony to climax the Boma of Africa Festival, Olusegun Obasanjo, Patron of AfroChampions, presented the USD$50,000 Nefertiti Grand Prize for African Creativity to Vincent Kolo from Nigeria for his haunting and enthralling work on ‘The Cords of Yesterday’. The winning artwork posed the enlightening question of what binds us to the inner and outer forces restraining our forward march.
Sponsored by Afreximbank and Commercial International Bank, the Grand Prize was awarded for work that passionately highlights the contemporary quest for Africa to learn from its past, take charge of its present and build its own unique vision of a united, prosperous, future. Its thematic essence is: the Africa we Want, the AU’s Agenda 2063 grand slogan.
Additional winners of the Creative Challenge were announced:
Bineta Diop, the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and security, awarded the USD$15,000 Prize for Social Justice, sponsored by MTN, to Sinenkosi Msomi for work that draws on themes of social change, justice, inclusion, equity, equality, struggle, and anti-oppression
Dikembe Mutombo, global basketball icon, awarded the USD$10,000 Prize for African Renaissance, sponsored by ADS Group, to Bertha Munthali for work that draws on themes of development, knowledge, innovation, integration, ingenuity and transformation.
Ghanaian Poet based in London, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, awarded the USD$5,000 Prize for Literary Excellence, also sponsored by Afreximbank, to Peter Wambua for literary achievement in prose and poetry that opens up new vistas of African possibility.
“We would like to sincerely congratulate all the winners on their fantastic achievements, and for creating artworks that speak to Africa’s unity and future. It has been wonderful seeing government and the private sector come together from across the continent for the first Boma of Africa Festival to celebrate integration and the passion and creativity that will bring it to us.” said Edem Adzogenu, Chairman, AfroChampions Executive Committee.
Albert Muchanga, AU Trade & Industry Commissioner, re-echoed these sentiments and added that, “we have been brought together on the inaugural Africa Integration Day by one idea: collaborations. Collaborations across all sectors are what will power the united and prosperous Africa we want. We look forward to an even more successful celebration next year.”
The awards kick-start the ‘Continental Change Through Creative Arts’ program, spearheaded by AfroChampions through strategic alliances with AU institutions and other regional bodies and multinationals.
The program will help to re-shape the African narrative and unearth creative talent through: an Artists Laureate program, where top shortlisted artists will be posted to major corporations and regional institutions to work closely with marketing and branding departments; assisting the corporate sector to develop major cross-sectoral artistic projects that blend technology, heritage and creative art; and using new and traditional media to help young Africans rediscover their authentic storytelling traditions and deepen their emotional bonds with their home continent.
The Boma of Africa festival is one of a number of innovative programmes taking place around Africa Integration Day to highlight the new African economic order, following agreement by the African Heads of State to establish the yearly commemoration during an Assembly of the Africa Union session in 2019.
The festival is anchored by strategic partners with organizations including the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the United Nations Development Programme, and Speak Up Africa, a Dakar based advocacy and policy tank.
About the AfroChampions Initiative
AfroChampions is a convening ground for the African private sector and its leadership to engage with continental governance institutions in collaborations that transform the hope of unity into practical projects that bring prosperity and pride to Africa and Africans.