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African Crossroads: ‘Wakanda’ for creatives and tech community

Saturday December 21 2019

A musician performing on stage at the African

A musician performing on stage at the African Crossroads event held in Mombasa on November 20 to 23, 2019. PHOTO | POOL 

FAITH ONEYA
By FAITH ONEYA
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It’s like Wakanda for creatives and the tech community. That is the only way one could sum up the 2019 African Crossroads event held in Mombasa. But unlike Wakanda, which is a fictional country located in sub-Saharan Africa and the home of superhero Black Panther, there was nothing imaginary about the event.

The annual gathering reflects on revolutionary, entrepreneurial, scientific, artistic and technological developments anchored in African intellectual and technological traditions.

The “vibranium” of African Crossroads was the rich diversity of the people the gathering brought together – 170 participants with different backgrounds and from 30 different countries.

The inaugural African Crossroads was held in Marrakesh, Morocco in December last year.

AFRICAN CITIES

This year’s ‘Sense the City’ theme asked the participating artists, entrepreneurs, computer scientists, designers, researchers, philosophers and thought leaders to come up with innovations and solutions that would bring positive change and advances to African cities. Discussions at the gathering were split into four tracks: taste (the future of food); sound, which wrestled with the idea of what is the sound of African cities; touch (focusing on fashion); and move (urban transport).

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The participants agreed that future African cities must put people at the centre of their development.

This follows last year’s successful ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ theme, focusing on our role in shaping the ongoing technological and intellectual revolution across Africa.

“Hivos has been keen on expanding alternative spaces of free expression where change makers – artists, creatives, designers and the tech community – can contribute to societal issues such as good governance, inclusion of repressed voices and minorities, access to sustainable food and renewable energy. The African Crossroads gathering exudes this principle,” Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director Mendi Njonjo said at the event.

Hosted and organised by Hivos, the event is also a retreat where African creatives and the tech community convene annually to exchange ideas and debate on subjects that enrich Africa’s development agenda.

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