Africa in 2020: Art & Activism



6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, reception in Brunei foyer


£7.20 - £12

Across Africa and the world, contemporary African creatives are taking up increasingly prominent – and political – positions. African artists and cultural producers have propelled a global boom in music, film, fashion and contemporary art, driving social change and shifting narratives both at home and abroad.


Our Africa in 2020 flagship event will explore what it means be an artist and an activist in Africa today. How do creatives respond to political contexts, especially those operating under oppressive regimes? How do they create their own models and ways of organising? What insights can artists share that others cannot? And what will be the major themes that dominate the coming year and decade?




Boitumelo “Tumy” Motsoatsoe – Head of Programmes, Business and Arts, BASA South Africa.

Makhtar Fall AKA Xumman – Musician & Broadcaster.

Valerie Asiimwe Amani – Artist.

Ahmed El Attar – Theatre Director, Playwright and Cultural Manager.
Chair: Dr Jenny Mbaye – Programme Director, City University of London


This event is delivered in partnership with the British Council.


Book tickets via Eventbrite.


Speaker Bios:


Boitumelo ‘Tumy’ Motsoatsoe is the Head of Programmes at Business & Arts South Africa (BASA). This year (2019),Tumy made the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans list (Arts and Entertainment) and was recently selected as one of the international fellows for the Chevening Clore Leadership Programme. In 2017 she was selected for the BASA award for Cultural Leadership and Management in the Cultural Economy. She has served on the boards of the Pan African Youth Network for a Culture of Peace as the Southern Africa regional coordinator and Arterial Network South Africa. Tumy holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Policy and Management and an Honours degree in Dramatic Arts, both from the University of Witwatersrand.


Makhtar Fall a.k.a. Xuman, son of Senegalese immigrants, was born and raised in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Very early on he discovered hip hop and rap, which later became his passion and profession. He arrived in Dakar in the 1990s and began a career of nearly 16 years with his group Pee froiss, which would become one of the precursors of the Senegalese hip hop movement. With the Pee Froiss, he released 5 albums and has represented Senegal at several major musical events around the world. A supporter of the movement Y EN A MARRE, he participates with Keyti, Djily Bagdad andKilifeu de Keurgui in the writing of the official anthem of the movement. He is also knowfor his political and social commitment. A radio and television man, he worked in several radio stations before going on 2stv with his project Natty Dread Tv. He produced for 3 years a weekly program called “Journal Télévisé Rappé”Xuman also collaborates with great names in local and international music such as BabaMaal, Gentleman, Dead Prez, Imani, Awadi, Tiken Jah, Takana Zion, Vicelow (Saïan supa crew). A pioneer of Senegalese rap, he has performed on several stages around the world, Including the Würzburg Festival, the Summer Jam in Germany; Pireneos in Spain; Festival Boulevard de Casablanca and Ouaga Hip Hop.


Valerie Asiimwe Amani is an artistic explorer based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has won awards in fashion and has a background in graphic design, writing and creative direction. Both an Economics (Rhodes University) and Fashion graduate (FEDISA), she combines her skills to create multimedia visual art pieces with narratives around Neo-african identity and femininity. Her work in fashion and new media art has been featured on various international platforms, publications and exhibitions internationally. She is the co-author of a multimedia book titled Black Amara that explores the black African millennial dialogue. She is currently an independent art consultant for various cultural centers in Tanzania; while simultaneously creating art, curating exhibitions and writing on contemporary African art.


Ahmed El Attar is an Egyptian independent theater director, playwright, and cultural manager. He is the founder and general manager of Studio Emad Eddin (SEE) Foundation, a unique project that provides training and rehearsal spaces for independent performing artists in Egypt. El Attar is also the founder and artistic director of D-CAF (Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival), Egypt’s largest annual international contemporary arts festival. His Temple Independent Theater Company, has performed his plays at major festivals and theaters in over two dozen countries across the globe. Currently he is touring internationally with his latest play ‘Mama’, which premiered at the 72nd edition of Festival d’Avignon in July 2018, as well as ‘Before the Revolution’ which had its UK premiere at Summer Hall as part of the 2019 Edinburgh fringe festival. El Attar was presented in 2018 the title of a “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” by the French Ministry of Culture for his significant contributions to theater.


Chair: Dr Jenny Mbaye is a lecturer at City University of London, and a research and policy consultant and with a particular interest in culture, creativity and urban development in African contexts. She joined the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries (CCCI) in 2015. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the African Centre for Cities (ACC), University of Cape Town (UCT). Her work focuses on urban popular cultures, and the music economy in relation to entrepreneurship, development and social transformation in Francophone West Africa. She is knowledgeable in creative labour, work and management processes, as well as in cultural marketing, governance and policy in relation to urban creativity. She worked in cultural and media organizations in Senegal and Burkina Faso, and as an academic researcher in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa. She is a UNESCO consultant (UNESCO/HABITAT Culture Urban Future; UNDP/UNESCO Creative Economy Report 2013; Praia Declaration; UNESCO Creative Cities Network), a Jury Member for the African Art Lines artistic mobility fund, and a member of the Arterial Network Cultural Policy Task Group for which she acted as scientific advisor on its African Creative Cities Network pilot programme (2016-18).


Image Credit: Kwasi Darko (Ghana)

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