A few years after achieving its independence in 1962, Algeria, under the umbrella of the Organization of the African Union, organized the first Pan African Cultural Festival, referred to as PANAF. The festival it took place in Algiers in July 1969 during a time when a few African countries were still fighting against colonialism for their national emancipation. PANAF remained unique because of the gathering of thousands of professional artists from Africa and the African diaspora, but ordinary African citizens also came from their villages to perform for the comeback of Africa on the international scene. Many artists came directly from the bush and were transported in conditions worthy of a spy movie. Miriam Makeba, for example, an antiapartheid icon for the African National Congress (ANC), appears repeatedly with Marion Williams, Archie Shepp, or Nina Simone. PANAF was conceived of as a continental celebration that would be opened up for the first time to the African diaspora living abroad, “brought together ⋯ in a militant cultural gathering and strongly marked by the search for identity.” William Klein’s film, The Pan-African Festival of Algiers, endures as a living witnessing of the African and African American liberation movements taking place in Algeria during this time.
Research Article|November 01 2018
Ahmed Bedjaoui; Once Upon a Time, There was PANAF: Liberation Movements and Cultural Representations of African Dreams. Nka 1 November 2018; 2018 (42-43): 170–183. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-7185821
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