Dr Bakary Sambe, Research Fellow at AKU-ISMC, recently delivered a paper at an international symposium entitled ‘Cultural Interactions between Sub Saharan Africa and Morocco’. The symposium was held from 11 – 18 May 2009, at La Fondation des Arts Vivants and Hassan II University in Casablanca.
Sponsored by the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, the symposium aimed to facilitate the establishment of a network dedicated to the development of intellectual and cultural exchange between Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco.
Participants included researchers from Senegal, Tunisia, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, India and the UK; along with a range of prominent figures from academia and the arts, including Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Prize winner (literature).
This symposium was held as part of an international festival “The Moving Africa” which acts as a platform for new fields of research and cultural dialogue between Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco.
Sambe’s paper, Between Islam, Arabism and Negritude: the crossroad of identities, sought to emphasise the various cultural and historical interactions, exchanges and influences between African and Arab/Muslim contexts. His paper highlighted the tangible shared heritage and the intangible and largely disregarded cultures of Africa within African and Arab Muslim contexts.
During the week, artistic and cultural events were organised in the cities of Casablanca and Mohammédia, in order to introduce African cultures through music, theatre and dance.
Musicians and artists from Mali (Mory Knte, Salif Keita), the Ivory Coast (Alpha Blondy), Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Morocco performed, exhibiting the various artistic cultures that have developed from the profound exchanges across these spaces.
The symposium included many roundtable discussions between artists and scholars, seeking to deepen the level of dialogue betweenAfrican and Arab Muslim contexts, around a shared history about which little is known.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations