The Great African Caravan (GAC) is a road travel project by Art Caravan to promote Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with UNESCO. 12 Artists from Uganda, the Netherlands, Argentina, England, India, Germany, and Kosovo have come together with African artists, activists, civil societies, Govt. bodies, and international organisations to facilitate dialogues between communities and work on democracy, human rights and peace through art and cultural exchange under the framework of the Global Goals.
The Caravan will travel for 200 days from Cape Town to Cairo. The journey began in South Africa on the 25th August 2018 and will cross Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan to conclude in Egypt in March 2019.
Our Project in South Africa
The Great African Caravan has been hosting various artistic events centered on the theme of female artistic action against violence in Delft, Khayelitsha and Cape Town in collaboration with the following organisations: Africa Unite, Rainbow Arts Organisation, Theatre4Change and its Makukhanye Art Room and Baz-Art.
Various artistic collaborations have taken place to explore and celebrate cultural diversity as different cultural and racial backgrounds have come together to focus on the following SDGs: Goal 4, Quality Education, Goal 5, Gender Equality, and Goal 10, Reducing Inequality.
The Launch Event 31 August 2018
The launch event in Cape Town was organised to celebrate these collaborations, to showcase the resulting artwork and to inaugurate our road journey. The event took place the 31st of August in Khayelitsha at Makukhanye Art Room and was organised in partnership with the Art Room and Africa Unite. The event was attended by our partner organisations, World Merit South Africa and ASSITEJ (the South African centre of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People).
The event was opened with a welcome from GAC team member Ife Piankhi who introduced the audience to the Great African Caravan. Thereafter Brilliant Nyambi, Human Rights Manager at Africa Unite, talked about the GAC-Africa Unite partnership and the need for artistic engagements to promote a culture of human rights, especially among African youth. His speech was followed by an address by Akram Feroze, theatre actor and artistic director of the GAC who thanked all partner organisations for facilitating our collaborative projects in South Africa. Next to speak was Mandisi Disi Sindo, founder and Artistic Director of Theatre4Change Arts Project and Makukhanye Art Room, which provide performance platforms for hundreds of youth, community members and artists from disadvantaged backgrounds. In his speech, Sindo emphasised the need to facilitate youth empowerment through the performing arts and the importance of free expression to heal, educate and inform.
The speeches were followed by a theatre performance by Makukhanye Art Room resulting from a three day theatre production workshop Akram Feroze provided. The play narrated the struggles of a child growing up in a violent township environment threatened by domestic violence, drug abuse and gangsterism. Thereafter the Makukhanye Entertainment Group gave a traditional African dance performance.
After the performances Shikhant Sablania, GAC member and visual artist presented his work in the township of Delft where, in collaboration with local artists (Harry Alex Zanjo, Andrew Zanjo, Zanempilo Zkhali Febana and Zuko Nxantsiya) and Baz-Art he is creating mural artwork on the theme of SDGs and female action against violence and crime.
A similar theme was taken up by the panel discussion following his presentation, which discussed the need for art in social action and the role women play in particular. The panellists were Mandisi Disi Sindo, Yvette Hardie (President of ASSITEJ South Africa), Yonela Msongelwa (Coordinator of the Human Rights Peer Education Programme at Africa Unite) and Sino Xhonti (Lead Advocate for Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality for World Merit South Africa – Cape Town).
They explored the question how art can be used to tackle social issues in South Africa but also what limitations exist in terms of impact, recognition and support. The conversation focused on how the role of art can be emphasised and developed by means of the creation of spaces, opportunities and collaborations for and between artists, activists and social organisations. Afterwards the discussion was opened to audience members who questioned the panellists on various related issues.
Finally the event was closed by an open mic session in which various audience members got on stage to perform music and poetry and a thank you address by Ife to our global sponsors: Mahindra Adventures, Bench Events and Flytta.