In line with its mandate to develop the African creative ecosystem, the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), met with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as stakeholders from its creative industry, recently, in the capital city of Kinshasa, to discuss possible ways to protect the globally-renowned heritage of Congolese Rumba.
Recall that the Congolese Rumba was, in December 2021, added to the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) list of world intangible heritages, sparking conversation about the need to protect the iconic genre, which has long been revered as the soundtrack of Congolese history.
AFRIMA delegates from its international secretariat, based in Lagos, Nigeria, including the Executive Producer and President, Mr Mike Dada, Associate Producers, Olisa Adibua, and Victoria Nkong; AFRIMA Regional Director, Central Africa, Mr Ernest Ewane Egnon;
AFRIMA Juror representing Diaspora Northern America, as well as AFRIMA International Executive Committee Member, Matlou Tsotetsi, met with the Honourable Minister of Integration, DRC, Didier Mazenga, as well as the Honourable Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Catherine Kathungu Furaha, in the DRC Capital of Kinshasa, as well as the Honourable Commissioner in charge of Education, Health and Culture, in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Yvette Ngandu Kapinga, to discuss a partnership which would see Rumba spotlighted to Africans and the rest of the world as a sound of the future.
Furaha, who received the AFRIMA team with enthusiasm, lauded the initiative, adding that it will be beneficial to allow the Congolese Rumba to play a role in the unification of Africans, as well as develop the entertainment industry in the Central African region.
AFRIMA’s Executive President and Producer, Mike Dada, appreciated the DRC hosts, noting that the partnership was strategic and vital as a prelude to the Biennale of the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, which is scheduled to hold in Kinshasa at the end of the year.
“AFRIMA, which is celebrating its eighth edition, in November, this year, has always been a beacon of hope for the African creative industry. As the rest of the world celebrates our popular music, it is important that we honour and safeguard our pioneering and iconic genres, which have shaped our global image for several decades.
The Congolese Rumba is such a powerful genre that is at the risk of being forgotten by the current generation of music lovers in Africa, and it is our responsibility as a Pan-African body to showcase it and transfer this heritage to our younger music lovers,” Dada said.
The delegates also discussed innovative solutions to some challenges bedevilling the African music industry, citing that the African Creative Academy, which is a continental youth empowerment initiative, would play a key role in helping Africans to develop their old and minority genres for global acclaim.
The AFRIMA delegates were also treated to a special closed-door performance from Congolese superstars and previous AFRIMA winner, Fally Ipupa, who serenaded the whole team with their enigmatic Rumba melodies and dance moves. The team also met with the media and other AFRIMA winners, such as Majoos and Inoos B.
The AFRIMA team also urges entertainers, across the continent and their counterparts of African descent who are based in the diaspora to submit their entries for possible nomination at the awards this year.
The submission deadline for the entries, which has been set for August 5, 2022, will not be extended this year, the organisers have previously announced. All entry submissions can be done via the AFRIMA website at www.afrima.org, which also contains information about the guidelines, as well as eligibility status for prospective entrants.