Efforts at ensuring peace and security in Africa sometimes focus too much on conflict resolution and too little on prevention. Similarly, too much attention is sometimes paid to the use of force, with the result that non-coercive methods of peacebuilding are neglected. Non-coercive peacebuilding has historically preoccupied artists in many traditional African cultures. Today, Yossou N’Dour of Senegal, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Emmerson of Sierra Leone, Congolese sculptor Freddy Tsimba, the Amakhosi Cultural Centre in Zimbabwe and griots (storytellers, poets or praise singers) in many West African societies continue to play this role.
The course brought together 25 participants from 15 countries. Attendees included artists who are or wish to be involved in peacebuilding activism as well as non-artist peacebuilders, including journalists who work with or are interested in working with artists in their peacebuilding efforts.
The course was geared towards giving artists a better understanding of evolving peace and security issues on the continent; including a better understanding of local and international instruments and processes for enhancing peace and security in Africa. It also helped them to magnify the effect of their work by better relating it to these instruments and processes. Non-artist peace and security practitioners were also equipped with a better understanding of the peacebuilding activism of artists, and the ways in which these practitioners can enhance their work by tapping into such activism. Participants were given an opportunity to hone their peacebuilding activism skills in discussing methods used both by artists and non-artists from different areas of Africa.
The course was directed by Dr Salome Mshai Mwangola,Research and Communication Officer of the joint Social Science Research Council/Africa Leadership Centre’s African Peacebuilding Network-Hub.
The course facilitators were:
- Kwalar Vera Muring, from Elections Cameroon
- Mueni Lundi, a performer and consultant on HIV/AIDS, culture and gender
- Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, a published novelist and short-story writer
- Hope Azeda, founder, artistic director and choreographer of Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts
- Malika Ndlovu, a creative consultant at the Museum of AIDS in Africa’s ‘Healing through Memories Project’
- Hon. Abubakar Zein Abubakar, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, where he serves as the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee Chair
ISS Addis Ababa