WE!ARE: Building a pan-African voice on climate justice


Certainly, creativity has moved from mere creativity to being a significant vehicle for driving solutions in Africa, and BUKZONE is excited to witness the launch of an African initiative that will drive a conversation about an issue that affects young Africans. Africa has never lacked talent and creativity and as African arts and entertainment continue to gain international attention with artists like WizKid and Burna Boy now global sensations, it is time to harness the power of arts and creativity to tackle an issue that threatens our very existence.

Crtve Development (CD) is taking the bull by the horns through the launch of the WE!ARE climate justice movement. CD, together with other trusted partners, has rolled out the WE!ARE climate justice campaign to socialise the disproportionate effects of climate change on vulnerable communities on the African continent. Using creativity, the campaign will discover and amplify young people’s unique experiences and demands to surmount the challenges of climate change through climate justice.

Climate justice emphasizes that Africa contributes the least to global warming, yet Africans are the most affected by climate change. As a result, those with the least capacity to cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change face the biggest threat. Climate justice aims to redress this inequality by fairly sharing the problem of climate change as well as the responsibility of dealing with it equitably, with all countries around the world.

To further highlight the importance of climate justice in Africa, Crtve Development, in partnership with Africa No Filter, issued a call-out for creative participation in WE!ARE showcases that will resemble climate justice in the context of “The Africa We Want To See”. Creative Hubs in participating countries were invited to apply for grants to curate pop-up showcases and creative installations as well as the execution of three workshops using art and creativity as a tool for social change in local communities.

On 28 July, five creative hubs that were selected for the campaign were announced. They are The Assembly (Nigeria), Footprints of David Arts Foundation (Nigeria), Daai Deng (South Africa), Perform Arts (Egypt) and Tamba Africa Social Circus in Mozambique. 

The Assembly, founded by Yoanna Chikezie, an award-winning serial entrepreneur, is an open innovation organisation dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and creatives from Africa and its diaspora to succeed in the global fashion industry. Presented as a futuristic scenario of a climate-battered and hyper-modern Lagos in the year 2050, both pop-ups within the showcase will feature a startup collective made up of five homegrown heritage and digital fashion brands. Drawing from the past and leveraging the present to influence the future. Speaking during the launch, Yolanda Akinola, The Assembly hub’s Events and Programmes Lead stated that The Assembly will curate a travelling ‘phy-gital’ showcase staged in a shopping mall and a slum zone in Lagos.

The second hub, Footprints of David Arts Foundation is an all-inclusive theatre and community development project in the Bariga community. Its founder Seun Awobajo, a children’s theatre director, community organiser, culture advocate, social campaigner and artiste has worked within the Bariga community for over two decades. The hub’s showcase will include a live and digital photo exhibition in public spaces in Lagos, community performances in public areas and reusable art installations such as Christmas trees with waste PET bottles.

Also Read: Navvi Arudem is redefining the African gaming culture

In preparation for the showcases set to kick off in September 2022, all creative hubs will attend online and in-person training workshops to equip them with practical advice on climate-related policy education, community participation, and media skills development. 

The movement is giving young Africans an opportunity to speak their minds, lead the conversation, and share their solutions on their terms. To get involved, visit www.africabywe.org or join the conversation on social media platforms using the hashtag #AfricaByWe. 

This movement will help to prioritize the issue of climate change for the entire African demography, ensure the message is clear on how climate change significantly affects their lives, and improve the reception of the subject among the rural communities.

On the part of these hubs and the young climate champions, it is a clear case of preparedness meeting the opportunity that CD brings. To be among the five hubs chosen to champion this movement is no small feat, and they deserve to be celebrated for taking on a rather uncommon challenge.

Finally, creatives in Africa need to take advantage of the low barriers to entry, inclusiveness, and agility of the creative economy to create new pathways of expression. Young people are already at the forefront of the creative sector, and this campaign is another win that should encourage them to reach for their highest aspirations as they take on the challenge of climate change. Also, the ripple effect of this initiative is that it will help to identify practical strategies and approaches that will foster creativity among young people at all levels. It will also foster reward systems to recognize, protect, and appreciate creativity in Africa, a major yearning of young people.

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