This inventory of artistic production in Africa is excruciating: royalties, structures, money – everything is lacking. Worse still, however, is the absence of cultural policies. For even though they lack resources, African States could nonetheless set up, and command respect for, laws enabling artists to work. Beyond the play of interests, and the spheres of influence to be defended, it is the valorization of culture that is at stake. Culture is not a gadget, artists are not nutters out of touch with reality: they work, via their critical and innovative gaze, to make their people responsible, for the taking charge of the day-to-day. It is in that respect that they serve not only development, but peace too: by situating themselves above hatred and the projection of their own problems onto another ethnic group or foreigners, they facilitate reconciliation after conflicts, and, better still, their prevention.
It is no small coincidence that our next dossier will deal with exile, as how can artists survive in Africa today? Fascinating initiatives exist, but often only see the light of day thanks to Western backing, which brings us onto another question which we also intend to deal with. The stakes are crucial: if culture is not taken into account,the very equilibrium of society is threatened, both its moral well-being and its ability to evolve.
Africultures makes its contribution by putting itself at the service of these artistic expressions each month: by giving them a voice, by remaining an engaged vector of information and debate. It is not in colour, nor printed on gloss paper, but it is independent and free: preferring to start small, in a format that enables us to last, we are, bit by bit, with each issue, expanding the density and the intensity of our journal, and its implantation in Africa.
1999 has been marked by one major advance: the printed journal is now complemented by a integral internet edition on africultures.com, and we have broadened out from the Francophone field by translating it into English. The diary and murmurs data is up-dated daily. We are counting on your participation so that Africultures remains the forum African cultures deserve.
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