Call from Artists & Intellectuals: Workshop of artistic reflection on Democracy in Africa

In front of the sociopolitical situation Mali is facing today, the Centre Culturel Kôrè of Ségou

and the Centre Soleil d’Afrique of Bamako initiated a workshop that served as a space for

artistic creation on the change occurring in Mali since March 22, 2012, and reflection on

democracy in Africa.

In this context a conference was held on Monday, May 21, 2012 at the Centre Soleil

d’Afrique with visual artists from both partner centers, in the presence of university

professors, historians and anthropologists and the speakers, namely: Mr. Ismaïla Samba

Traoré, Dr. Oumar Kamara Ka and Dr. Mamadou Fanta Simaga, former parliament member

and mayor of Ségou, moderation was achieved by Mr. Mamou Daffé. We also received a

contribution from the sociologist Youba Bathily and the scientific forum of the Festival sur le

Niger. The analyzed relationship is the interaction between art and democracy, that is to say

the interactions modifying the artistic or democratic activity: actions with dynamic effects that

cause a movement in arts or in the democratic process.

Democracy can be taught by art that offers the audience a cultural and artistic education. A

painting is a way for artists to influence the actions of leaders, to test institutions in order to

prevent abuse of power and also to judge policies that are implemented. In short, art is a tool

enabling to supervise leaders without having to make a revolution. Art can use democracy as

a source of inspiration for creation, just as democracy can be built or have as basis the cultural

and artistic heritage of the nation. Art works with democracy and contributes enormously to

the promotion of democratic countries through the promotion of artistic creation (by public

and private services) of artists and the use of art in cultural diplomacy through cultural

department of embassies.

From these discussions, facing the current report on democracy in the continent, we

asked a number of questions:


- What place does democracy reserve to our core cultural values?

- What are the possible solutions to build a winning democracy, respectful of our


- What to do, faced with so much knowledge and values? How to operate?

- What are the dynamics involved today?

- How to “infrastructure” our approach of democracy?


So, a Call said from artists and intellectuals through this conference organized by the Centre

Culturel Kôrè of Ségou and the Centre Soleil d’Afrique of Bamako was written and invites all

stakeholders (government, political, economic, socio-cultural actors, and partners) to the

following recommendations:

We urgently need the seven working patterns to be operated:


1. Today, we must “infrastructure”, to paraphrase Prof. Joseph Ki Zerbo.

Infrastructure means creating the conditions for communication and training for a

clear and intelligible perception of democratic principles, of citizenship. These

Workshop of artistic reflection on democracy in Africa - May 2012

are ethical principles in governance, the constitution and opposition that enable

the democratic game.


2. Create optimal conditions for the development of creativity and imagination

with reforms and relevant political decisions

The communication and training to be imagined should be based on school

development and artistic creativity that are the leverage of access to culture.


3. Infrastructure the sector of art and culture is to train the creators to the

challenges of globalization with the “Cultures shock”, it’s further organizing the

professions, organizing to control the costs and the distribution channels


4. Develop a powerful scientific educational policy

The scientific and cultural education in developed countries integrate in school

workshops on creative artistic drawing, music, dance, writing, as further teaching

of traditional disciplines. This stimulates capacities in young children.

From school, we must teach young children lessons on ethics, citizenship,

history of ideas, the history of Africa, and the philosophy of history.


5. Creating «think tank » in every promising sector of art and culture, to

promote the production of thought.

Civil society, intellectuals and emerging private sectors do not participate much

in the management of power, hence the absence of their voice or their thoughts.

While, they are supposed to operate a rebirth of ideas and as a weight against


The western world has something that we need to adopt and master: university

networks, politicians and economic actors maintain the so-called “think tanks”,

which are reflection circles at the western scale. These “think tanks” influence

governance in these different nations. And if we are also rebuilding Africa,

engaging the fight for political and economic changes, we must ask ourselves

first. Every fight is initially thought, any scheme is first derived from reflection


6. Organizing a national dialogue on cultural activities and prospects for a winning

democracy that respects our values.


7. Giving a status to the artist so that he can thrive and play his full role


For more info or enquires contact:  Mr. Mamou Daffé, Fondation Festival sur le Niger – Ségou, Mali, email :


AuthorCato Litangen