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FORUM AFRIKANUM STUTTGART-An African Day

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Africans are organizing themselves by building communities. These communities organize cultural events, to which the general public is invited to feel/taste the African flavour and make contacts. An African organization “Forum Afrikanum Stuttgart e.V invited everyone to an “African Day” on the 31st January 2004. Afritopic attended the event in Stuttgart and reports as follow.
 
Forum Afrikanum Stuttgart e.V is an organization founded in 1993 by the Cameroonian social educationalist Martin Moffor. The aim of the organization is to create a platform that would serve as a meeting place for the African culture with the European as well as other cultures. In order to initiate the contact process and introduce elements of the African culture to people of other cultures, Forum Afrikanum organizes cultural events and workshops on African percussion, story telling, dancing, singing and theater. The executive members of the organization include Germans but Martin himself is the key person in all the events. Martin Moffor grew up in a small Cameroonian village where drumming, singing and dancing were part of daily life. The life in the village had such a strong influence on him that he later went to Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, to study dance and theater. On completing his studies, he went back to his village as a social worker to help tackle diverse problems relating to the lost of African identity
Martin moved to Germany in 1986 and has since been involved in different African cultural programs. He has performed as an artist/narrator in various cultural events including Naturkundenmuseum Rosenstein Stuttgart, Grundschule Freital, Eine-Welt-Laden Schorndorf, Internationales Fest Freiberg, Tagung “Märchen der Welt” PTZ Birkach, Welt Literaturen 2003 Stuttgart, Schickhardt-Realschule Stuttgart, Stadtbücherei Erkenbrechtsweiler, „Tag der Kulturen TRP Stuttgart and „Afrika Tage“ stuttgart.
In recent times, he organizes workshops for children. In the workshops, he plays the role of a narrator. Using gestures, mimic and drums, he narrates African fairy tales and teaches children African social games.   
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Martin Moffor
 
According to him, African fairy tales are taking from the daily life and occurrences or events. The fairy tales depict the moral concepts, the fundamental ethic, wisdom as well as rules of conduct and behaviour of the African cultural communities from which they originate. The fairy tales also reflect the customs and traditions of their respective tribal origins, which landscapes provide the setting for the stories.
In a brief interview with Afritopic, Martin appeals to Africans to come together in order to communicate with each other and understand themselves. He believes that it is only when Africans understand themselves and their cultures would it be easier for them to present and explain their cultures to others. “Through understanding their indigenous cultures, Africans would gain “African consciousness”. And like a chain process, the acquired “African consciousness” would enable the promotion of African awareness”, he says. Talking about the issue of integration of foreigners into the German society, Martin prefers being pro-active; inviting Germans and people from other cultures to African events in order for them to "feel" Africa.
By organizing African cultural events and inviting the public, we provide an open platform where people could learn about African culture, participate in African traditions, for example traditional dances, and make contacts. “I have learnt a great deal from my activities in the organization. I have acquired organizational skills, which I hope to take back to Africa and apply in development and community projects”, he says.
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Frank Sitti (An executive member of Forum Afrikanum Stuttgart)
 
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As a founding member of Forum Afrikanum Stuttgart, I hope to see the organization network with other institutions to form a big mutually benefiting network-family. According to Martin, the long-term goal of Forum Afrikanum Stuttgart is to have an “African Cultural Center” in Stuttgart. Though, there is already an “Africa House” in Stuttgart, the cultural center should offer more in-depth information about Africa. The center should provide extensive library on African issues as well as seminar and theater halls. It should be a venue where the general public could meet and learn about Africa in its entire manifold. Until we achieve this goal, we would continue to organize cultural events, film shows, seminars and workshops as a means of creating understanding amongst Africans and between Africans and people from other cultural backgrounds. One of such events termed “Afrika Tag” (African day) is what we have today (31st January 2004) at the Alten Feuerwehrhaus in Stuttgart.
 
Music group member
The events program was a mixture of a film show, discussions podium, Bazaar, African cuisine, disco and music concert. The film titled “Ich habe getöttet” (I have killed) by Alice Schmid, is a documentary film about child soldiers. In the film, four youngsters about the age of 20 years, speak of their horrifying experiences as child soldiers. The film analyzes the double impact of their experiences as the culprit and the victim. After the film, there was an emotional discussion on the trauma and psychological problems incurred upon child soldiers by their war experiences. The discussions examined effective ways to protest against the criminal practice. There was a general condemnation of child exploitation everywhere in the world.
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African Day photo album -->
 
 
Music group member
 
In the evening, some 200 guests, mostly Germans, showed up for the music concert. The concert featured a West African music group called Benkadi (Welcome). Members of the group include Aly Kalissa (solo djembe, wood drums), Hanne Kalissa (bass drums), Bakary Kone (djembe, balafone), Amie Colé-Camara (vocals, dance) and Kandara Diebaté (vocals, kora). The group treated the guests to a blend of Afro-beat and traditional African music. On the other side, the guests acknowledged their appreciation of the African rhythm by applauding the group intermittently and dancing to the music till the end of the show.
 
Afritopic Jan. 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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