Bahati to perform at Idris Elba-led Africa Day fete

Gospel artiste Bahati

Gospel artiste Bahati.

Photo credit: Kanyiri Wahito |Nation Media Group

A week before Kenya attained self-rule in 1963, the then Organisation of African Union (OAU) was founded. Transformed into the African Union on July 9, 2002 in Durban, South Africa, the date of May 25; previously referred to as African Freedom Day, then African Liberation Day, before becoming Africa Day; had been marked by different African countries over the years.

A number of events are being lined up for this year’s celebrations. Idris Elba will host the Africa Day Concert, a partnership between him, MTV Base and YouTube. The Londoner with Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean heritage also hosted the inaugural Africa Day At Home concert last year, which brought large attention to the day due to the actor’s box office power. The concert will feature performances by artistes from all over Africa, including Bahati from Kenya and Zuchu from Tanzania.

Facebook Africa launched “Made by Africa, Loved by the World” ahead of Africa Day to celebrate Africa’s growing cultural impact on the World. Having started on May 21 and going on until May 29, they are showcasing on a “Made by Africa, Loved by the World” microsite and the official Facebook Africa page a series of short films unveiling the stories of eight phenomenal creatives and small business owners from across the continent who are breaking ground across the world. 

Kenyan musical acts Sauti Sol and Blinky Bill are in the line-up that also includes fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo from South Africa, whose clothing brand ‘Maxhosa’ has been worn by global names such as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, and who most recently had his designs featured in the film Coming to America 2. Also featured is Mark Angel, a Nigerian comedian who has amassed more than 15 million global followers on Facebook.

“I was pleasantly surprised when Facebook sent me an email three weeks ago. Sometimes, I forget that I’ve actually been doing a lot. I already put out three singles from my upcoming album to test out new ideas to see how it works and people are noticing,” says Blinky, who also got a massive shout out from Lupita Nyong’o, saying that his song “Mungu Halali” makes her feel most at home on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert recently.

For him, creativity “has never been about the flashing lights, although I welcome it”. Blinky creates his art to push culture forward or to bring to life things he would want to exist just for fun. 

Referring to himself as a chef, he and his team ensure that everything he presents to his audience speaks to his vision.

On the recognition from Facebook, he said: “It’s good for us because we need more Kenyan music in all these spaces. I want to do more stuff with artistes of like mind in Africa.”

As part of the same campaign, Facebook will be creating dedicated ‘Africa Day’ Facebook profile frames available to Facebook users, and holding free virtual trainings for small and medium-sized businesses and creators across Africa through its local training partners. 

Focused on providing other upcoming creatives and entrepreneurs with the digital know-how to take their ideas global, these will focus on creativity and Instagram including: how to creatively engage with your audience through Instagram; Reels school, interactivity in stories and how to get creative with ads.

The Charter for African Cultural Renaissance (2006) is probably the reason Africa Day has been gaining worldwide recognition and celebration. Inspired by the Cultural Charter for Africa adopted by the heads of states and government of the OAU meeting in its 13th Ordinary Session, in Port Louis, Mauritius in 1976, the 2006 charter wanted focus shifted to asserting the dignity of African men and women as well as foundations of their culture. 

Promotion of freedom of expression and cultural democracy, an enabling environment for African peoples to maintain and reinforce the sense and will for progress and development was also envisioned. Hence, promotion of the African cultural heritage would be attained through its preservation, restoration and rehabilitation.

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