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Facing Neither East Nor West, But Forward: A conversation with Dr.Arikana Chihombori-Quao and Marcia Weekes

Facing Neither East Nor West, But Forward: A conversation with Dr.Arikana Chihombori-Quao and Marcia Weekes

One of the central themes across the African continent and diaspora this past year and decade has been unity. From business to culture, and economics to music, we have all been consistently moving towards working together. 

Take the AFCTA (The African Continental Free Trade), for example, which is accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice. 

In the world of tourism, the “Year of Return” and ongoing ‘Beyond the Return’ activities were and continue to be a proactive attempt to reunify the African diaspora with the rest of the continent.

Even in the world of entertainment, Afronation brought together artists from across the African continent and diaspora in one of the biggest Afro-music festivals the world has seen to date.

There are of course countless other examples too.

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Unity has been a central theme across the entire African diaspora this year and decade

If recent events, both here within our communities in China and elsewhere across the Global African diaspora, have taught us anything, it is that bringing about that unity should be a priority on all of our lists. Not only does a unified Africa and diaspora bring potential financial, cultural and social gain, but, as the old adage says there are strength in numbers – as a unified people – aware of our differences but not letting them overshadow our countless similarities – there are no limits to the heights we can reach. 

Since the creation of the African Union on the 25th of May 1963, the 25th of every May is celebrated as Africa day. More recently the entire month of May has also been declared Africa month, and while it should be a time to celebrate, it must also be a time of evaluation and renewal.

How do we in China tap into this global move towards unity and reflect it in our very own diaspora community, right here? What purpose does it serve? And should we succeed, how do we connect our efforts to the rest of our global community?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly – What can we learn from the rest of the African and diasporic world who are at the forefront of this move towards unity in their respective industries and using their own skills?

In exploring these questions and focusing on solutions and examples, instead of the problems, Black Livity China and Kente & Silk are proud to have partnered to present to you:

Facing Neither East Nor West, But FORWARD –

Developing African Unity, Identity and Agency through Media and other tools

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Flyer: Imagyneart

The webinar is set to be held on the 23rd of May at 9am, just ahead of Africa Day, featuring Her Excellency Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao Founder/Director of the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) and Marcia Weekes, celebrated film Director from the Caribbean (known for films Hush, Chrissy, Barrow-Freedom Fighter and the 2020 release of Joseph).  Through the example of the epic diasporic film, Joseph, the webinar promises to explore how we as a community can put our own respective skills and interests to use in shaping the future we want for our community, continent and people.

This discussion will be a priceless opportunity to learn from those already contributing to bridging this gap and to share our own experiences in the interest of creating actionable steps towards unity.

Back in November we wrote on the release of the historic film, Joseph, shot with a star-studded cast from Ghana, Jamaica and Barbados. The film tells the story of a Jamaican doctor with roots in Jamaica’s Maroon community. After the untimely passing of his close friend, a Ghanaian medical professional, he travels to Ghana and rediscovers his identity.

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This event is for the entire diaspora, and our speakers and their respective projects, backgrounds and expertise reflect just that! Marcia & Dave Weekes are from Jamaica and Barbados, offering a priceless insight into how those in the diaspora can reconnect with their roots. Her Excellency is Zimbabwean and runs ADDI, uniting the entire African and diasporic world, with African development firmly in focus.

Why now?

The month of May holds a special significance for Africans the world throughout as it marks Africa Day, the 25th of May.

With African and Diasporic communities on lockdown throughout the world, we hope to use this time to focus on the things that matter most.

Who are our speakers?

Marcia Weekes is a celebrated Jamaican/Bajan (Barbadian) film director with a sizeable catalogue of accolades and awards for her work. She is Artistic Director of Praise Academy of Dance, a company that has toured the Caribbean and abroad with its successful Theatrical productions. Her latest film, Joseph, is an uplifting story of ancestral pride that drives home the importance of bridging the gap throughout the African diaspora, wherever we find ourselves.

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is a medical doctor by training and is also the former African Union Ambassador to the United States of America. A powerful public speaker, her words resonate with African communities across the world.

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Having announced the formation of her organisation ADDI, the African Diaspora Development Institute, she plans on building on her mission to reunify the African continent and diaspora, and to bring much needed development to our communities.

Closing remarks will be delivered by His Excellency Francois Jackman, Ambassador of Barbados to China.

Who is this event for?

In order to create a safe space for those within our community to speak freely and work towards solutions to the issues that plague us all, this event is for Black Africans, Caribbean people and Black people of African descent only.

What can you expect?

We hope this to be a productive dialogue, aimed at increasing our own capacity as individuals to enact change and be ambassadors of our community/continent and advocate for advancements that suit our community wherever we go. An interactive session, attendees will be left with a range of ideas that can be applied and started wherever we are.

We may not all be politicians or public speakers. We may not all work in industries most typically associated with making change, but Joseph the Film and its creators show us that there are countless ways to contribute to bringing about long-lasting and meaningful change and unity.

Register your interest here :

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