African Crossroads – 11th Dec. 2020

African Crossroads Signatures

Hybrid online and offline

Presentation on The Past, Present and Future of the Mombasa Declaration

On the 21st November 2019, during the 2nd meeting of the network of African Crossroads delegates and stakeholders in Mombasa, over 70 participants signed on the Declaration of Mombasa – it was a landmark effort the team and the participants at the meeting achieved and are proud of.

That evening, when the Declaration was written and signed – some of us asked ourselves, now what? – what is going to happen to this legal literature. Who is going to hold it, own it, share it, distribute it or even defend it where needed!

I am really happy to inform you that despite the challenges we all face in our countries and governments; our declaration has managed to reach afar. It has been shared through the African Crossroads Network (anyone can assess it through Google Drive), it has been referenced at conferences in Uganda and requested for further research at the Witts University department of Arts in South Africa and more efforts are being thought as I will share them below to move it beyond borders to cover the African continent and Insha’Allah to the African Union.

Usually, Declarations are used to help move motions, guide process of decision making, referenced for policies and reforms and most importantly support advocates and lobbyists to formulate language.

Our Mombasa Declaration highlights the role of festivals and events in cities. In times like this ? where the world is in shock and held to this global pandemic, We, the stakeholders have a much difficult road ahead – to revive the culture of festivals and events, to re-negotiation our relevance and the significancy within cities ? even when they can be done for the smallest audiences.

It is not news that some of us – if not all of us – have cancelled our festivals and events. But when the lights are back on, when artists that we serve are ready to entertain again – most of us will be alone, and there will be no one to blame because to be honest, every donor, funders, governments will priorities health. Therefore, we will be on our own – but how are we going to pull of our return – how are we going to finance our huge budgets? We will have to lobby harder than we ever before.

Therefore, with this Declaration – as a network of creatives, entrepreneurs, festival organisers, lobbyists, advocates and sympathisers – we have to carry it along our proposals, we have to engage with it, use its literature to inform our partners that we are relevant, we deserve to be supported once again and we can only be impactful together with everyone’s support. For they should know that our industry creates employment, which contributes to economic growth and wealth creation, contributes to individual well-being and social cohesion. That our existence is not only for us to bear but a joint multi-sectoral participation at all levels – local, regional, continental and worldwide.

It is in this spirit that I suggest and call upon all the African Crossroads stakeholders and partners to:

  • Work together to share this declaration so that it reaches every desk it is supposed to reach
  • To form – if possible, a working group or think tank to enhance its language, and help those that need it
  • Create an advocacy document database for reference for all those that need to find information that would help them achieve the support and significancy within their communities, countries or continents.
  • To create regional advocacy hubs – in the North, the East, South, West and Central Africa as centres and first contacts for contextual consultancy.

The way things are right now, the next three years of relevance and significancy of operators in the creative industries is uncertain – we need to be together, work together, be there for each other, speak the same language and the Mombasa Declaration is significantly the language we need to speak.

Thank you!

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