Mali’s ‘Festival au Desert’, South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts partnership taking shape

Mali’s ‘Festival au Desert’, South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts partnership taking shape

Chased out of Mali by Islamic radicals keen to destroy its peaceful existence, le Festival au Desert (the Festival in Desert) has found a ‘house of exile’, South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts, where it will stay cosy – for now – until it is safe to return home, in northern Mali.

This week, the host country said it has responded to the global call to action to support the exiled festival return home by offering the first ever Southern African intervention.

This North-South collaboration of Mali’s Festival au Desert and South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts was announced and launched at WOMEX in Cardiff, Wales.

Emthonjeni Arts director Nomsa Mazwai yesterday hailed this new partnership, describing it as a game-changer that will open up pan-African markets.

Emthonjeni Arts has partnered with the Africans for Africa network to host a residency that will see young Africans meeting and sharing through music and dialogue – during and beyond the stay of Festival au Desert in South Africa.

The partnership is the forerunner of collaborations that will celebrate Africa’s diverse musical offerings, both partners said in a statement.

This intervention appears to position Emthonjeni Arts as a pioneering gateway offering platforms and engagements that will see it working as a collective on the continent.

“Emthonjeni Arts has joined the Africans for Africa Network because we believe we are a representation of the positivity this continent has to offer,” Mazwai added.

Photo: The Emthonjeni Arts, the new home of Mali’s Festival au Desert

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