In commemoration of this year’s Africa Day, Africa’s global bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) brought together some of the brightest minds in culture advocacy during its fourth annual UBA Africa Conversations – a platform for African and global audiences to connect with global thought leaders on their African journey in a quest to change the narrative.
The event, which was held at the UBA House in Lagos on Tuesday, featured the legendary musician and Songwriter, Youssou Madjiguène Ndour; Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Humphrey Desmond Geiseb; Publisher of TCN and Former Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism Arts & Culture, Steve Ayorinde; AMAA Award-winning Ghanaian actress, Lydia Forson and Fashion Designer, Kenneth Ize; among others.
Themed ‘The importance of reflecting our African culture in global success stories’, the conversation underscores the tremendous shift in Africa’s cultural influence – from Afrobeats to African films; Big African fashion labels and African authors; entertainment and culture.
Delivering the keynote address at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre, via a recorded speech, Youssou Ndour, who sought collaborations to boost the continent’s fortunes, said, “Young people in Africa have a lot of questions and we have to listen to them and see how together we can be a solution for Africa. We need to understand that there is a lot to do. Together we can make it.”
The Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Humphrey Desmond Geiseb, talked about how globalisation has been good for Africa.
“Of course, there are still some gaps, there are still a lot of things about Africa that is not known, and I believe that culture and arts can help to get it right for us,” he said.
He added that UBA’s foray as an African bank into the United States of America was a testament to this fact.
Steve Ayorinde, former Lagos State Commissioner for Information & Strategy and later Tourism, Arts and Culture who also sat on the panel opined that the liberalisation of the media and digital content is helping to improve the African narrative.
He pointed out: “As Africans, we are at the point where no one denigrates the African culture anymore. Indeed there is still a gap, but we are bridging that gap.”
Lydia Forson, who is a product of the Nigerian reality TV franchise, The Next Movie Star, appreciated UBA’s contributions towards changing the African narrative, and spoke on how the African culture is now more widely accepted around the world.
She said: “It is great to see a bank like UBA being intentional about promoting Africa. Now, the world gets to see more of us, because, we have started to tell our own stories.”
In his contribution, young and talented fashion designer, Kenneth Ize, said, “Africa is our home, our culture, and we have to do everything to preserve our culture.”
The event was moderated by the delectable broadcaster and well sought-after host, Laila Johnson-Salami.
Africa Day has been celebrated every May 25th since 1963 across the African continent and worldwide. The day was inaugurated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), in celebration of the unity, diversity and beauty of Africa and its people.