• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Why Africa Day has become a relevant vehicle to spur growth in the continent -Marinho


Akintunde Marinho is a Pan-African-focused Business Architect with over 15 years of work experience who is building out commercialization models for that cater to local content production and distribution in Africa. Marinho is also the convener of Arcadia African Day. In this interview with Lehle Balde and Ifeoma Okeke-Korieocha, he speaks on how he uses his company, ‘The Africa Day Company’ to promote The African Day and how through the Arcadia African day, he hopes to trigger conversations and host dialogue around Africa’s past, present & future with new and past African leaders across different sectors.

Kindly take us down memory lane on how the Africa Day 25th May celebration started?

I have been an avid promoter of African content and being a PanAfricanist for the last 15 years. I discovered that African Union earmarked 25th of May as ‘African day’ but many Africans do not know that there is such a day dedicated to celebrating the continent.

My mission with “The Africa Day Company” is to promote this day as a day where we celebrate African food and culture, and chart the way forward on our own terms through discussions that resolve around issues that are pertinent to us.

On the 25th of May, 1963, The Africa Unity Organisation, now known as the African Union (AU), was founded in order to safeguard the interests and independence of all African States.

This organisation also prioritised and encouraged the development of the continent from an economic integration, ensuring it’s social development and political unity.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate Africa’s diversity and success, highlighting the potential that exists within the continent. A celebration to acknowledge the progress that Africans have made while reflecting on the global, regional and local challenges we face as a people.

Arcadia Africa Day is a culturally-relevant vehicle for growth on the continent as it helps to reignite conversations about the things that really matter to the Africans

Arcadia Africa Day has been designed to leverage this renewed focus to drive positive change on the continent as we celebrate our diversity, innovativeness and the impact of Africans on the world.

How come this day (Africa Day) of celebration of African Unity has never truly been acknowledged by Africans and many are not even aware that the day exists?

It is not that African do not know the immeasurable wealth worthy of celebration on the continent, but when the basic infrastructure that enable a standard daily life is missing, we begin to lose sight of these bigger picture things; top of mind for people becomes survival. We often say ‘na who don chop they faaji’, and that is very understandable. But I strongly believe that we can acknowledge these limitations and still celebrate the continent that we have.

What is the theme of this year’s Africa Day celebration?

This year’s theme is called “CELEBRATION”. It is a call to see, acknowledge and celebrate the beauty that is the continent.

What informed your focus of this year on being intentional with dialogue by owning Africa’s narrative and telling African stories authentically from a first person point of view?

Owning the narrative is important because we wear the shoe, and we know where it pinches. The years of outsourcing the solutions to our problems haven’t gotten us far in any good direction. When we show up as a community, we can tap into each other’s perspectives and insights. By nature, Africans are communal, and in dialogue with each other, solutions are created.

How do you hope to trigger conversations and host dialogue around Africa’s Past, Present & Future with new and past African leaders across different sectors?

Media is such a helpful and powerful tool. As a media professional myself, I am keenly aware of what can happen when we utilize the power of storytelling and the reach of media. For us, the first step is to start the conversation and democratize access to those willing to join the conversation from across the continent.

Why the focus on Gen Zs or younger millennials for the Africa Day Music Festival?

The focus is not on Gen Z or younger Millennials but a rediscovery of authentic African music from drums from Yorubaland, Fiddles and lutes like goje from Ethiopia and Harp from Uganda. But because we are also interested in posterity, but it moves in range from full traditional music to the modern. That way, there is something for everyone.

What other events have you put together to celebrate the Africa Day event?

Day 1, which is the 24th of May will feature an African musical concert by none other than Made Kuti, and on Day 2 which is the 25th of May, we will have various conversations in form of panel session. It’s something everyone should be looking forward to.