The Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) initiative will be launched in The Gambia on 18th June 2022.
PANAF was established in November 2021 in response to the need for an active and inclusive regional voice in the creative sector that could raise awareness of incidents of artistic freedom violations and collaborate with artistic rights advocates in regional and national advocacy efforts.
In The Gambia, SELAM has partnered with Team Gom Sa Bopa. This partnership will allow the two organizations to work together to develop a unified voice for artists, and cultural producers advocating for artistic freedom in the music and film industries. The project will include capacity building, policy support and lobbying, research, workshops, s, and report publication as well as monitoring, and documentation of violations, all to form alliances for knowledge exchange and cooperative advocacy campaigns.
“This partnership is extremely important as the space for free thinkers on the continent continues to dwindle; artists are finding it increasingly difficult to practice any of the creative arts that require conscious use of skill and creative imagination,” Selam regional program director Lucy Ilado said.
“We can’t celebrate African creators’ achievements across disciplines without acknowledging the works we can’t enjoy due to censorship in the arts and the internet – or the many more works that can’t be envisioned or made because of these restrictions. Engaging with lawmakers on the significance of recognizing and defending the rights of all artists to create and disseminate their work without fear of retaliation is one of the things we are most looking forward to.”
Since the dawn of the new dispensation (2017), the Gambia has found a new lease of freedom for the creative sector which is thriving given the proliferation of artistic platforms available in the country. However, in the rest of Africa, this is not the case with several cases where artists have faced challenges while practicing their art. Team Gom Sa Bopa, SELAM, and Partners will endeavor to maintain a continental perspective to learn from best practices in an ever-changing environment.
The Nigerian and Rwandan chapters will also launch this month. The PANAF chapters in Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, and Ethiopia were launched in May.
Selam is a cultural organization with offices in Stockholm (Sweden), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda), and Nairobi (Africa). It has been active in cultural development and development aid for over 20 years, using its vast experience and worldwide network to develop and execute diverse cultural programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
About Team Gom Sa Bopa
Gom Sa Bopa means “Believe In Yourself” in the local Wollof language. Team Gom Sa Bopa (TGSB) is a youth led movement dedicated to raising awareness among young people through Art and arousing their interest in the development of The Gambia. Gom Sa Bopa engage artists to play a role in social life, civic education and to be watchdogs of the management of the country by the leaders and all those in charge of the advancements of the country.