INTERVIEW. Thanks to digital technology, this passionate afro culture connects African talents in the fields of culture, art, fashion and even technology.
He understood everything fifteen years in advance! This is how we could sum up a meeting with Maguette Mbow, Parisian of Senegalese origin, founding member of the platform L’Afrique c’est chic. With his young team, he works to promote young entrepreneurs in the fields of culture, art, fashion and even technology. Started two years ago with several collections of clothing and accessories with a direct message and in tune with the times, L’Afrique c’est chic, the initiative has made its way to become today an essential plate for those who innovate and those who want to capture this dynamic. The purpose of the quarantine is clear: African creativity is undergoing a lasting transformation and its positioning must be chosen. Concretely, it is a question of bringing together during meetings and an annual forum a large number of African creatives. With its rich experience in digital serving the creative industries, Maguette Mbow sees far for this hyper competitive market in France and Africa. For Le Point Afrique, he says everything about the strength of African cultures in the world.
Le Point Afrique: We are witnessing a resurgence of Afro cultures in Western capitals, how to explain it?
Maguette Mbow: Indeed, in the past 20 years, we have experienced several cyclical African “waves” in the major western capitals. The previous one was marked in 2005 by the large exhibition “Africa Remix” at the Center Pompidou in Paris, which already presented nearly 200 works by 90 contemporary African artists from all over the continent, from north to south, from east to west, in different worlds (plastic arts, sculptures, multimedia, design, graphic arts…).
L’Afrique c’est Chic was in the spotlight, alongside the shops of the Village Saint-Germain, for an extraordinary fashion show with: 50 models. © FB
Today, Africa returns to the center of all debates, not only by the strength of its culture, its model of societal organization, its (mostly) young creative, connected and conversant population, its natural wealth, but also by the economic realism of the current world shaken by deep, chronic crises and which sees in it its growth relay. Consequently, Africa, the matrix of humanity, is no longer perceived as a problem but as a solution.
Simple fashion effect?
The thesis of “Civilization of the Universal”, dear to Léopold Sédar Senghor, laid down the principles of globalization on the cultural level. “No civilization can become a universal civilization. All civilizations must build the Civilization of the Universal which then takes on a transcendent character above all civilizations to become universal “. In Africa it’s chic, we follow this inspiration: the chic that resides in each culture takes us away from the clash of civilizations! African cultural industries (textiles, music, cinema, etc.) are real growth levers and represent a source of creation of ties, meaning and values on a global scale.
L’Afrique c’est Chic made its comeback in Saint-Germain des près, from September 8 to 10. © FB
What role does digital play in sharing Afro cultures around the world?
Digital is today the main media for popularizing history, content and knowledge, like our griots in Africa. So it’s a form of oral tradition that leaves its mark. In addition, it erases borders and reduces distances. Dakar is one click from Paris, Abidjan one click from Shanghai. It is an opportunity and a chance for Africa, which can thus anticipate progress and share the richness of its history, the virtues of its natural products, the creativity of its contents.
How to connect this positive vision which is essential in the diasporas despite the controversies with the African continent?
Whatever the generation, Africans on the continent and outside their country of origin have a historic responsibility, which is to create these necessary bridges between Africa and the rest of the world. Our collective and positive actions represent so many Ambassadors of our original culture, respectful of our tradition and eager for progress.
* Africa is Chic Forum: Saturday September 24, in Paris.
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