The Africa Centre is both a physical entity and an ongoing philosophical journey that explores how Pan-African cultural practice can be a catalyst for social change. The Africa Centre was established in 2005 as an international centre for creativity, artistic excellence and intellectual engagement. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the Africa Centre’s social innovations extend across the African continent.
Why We Do What We Do
Our continent is confronting a myriad of issues, both real and imagined. These are wide-ranging, and include access to employment, education, healthcare, housing, water, power and sanitation. The complexity of addressing these issues is held not only in the facts, or the practical, but also within perception.
Looking at the continent both from the outside and from within, the mainstream messages that define Africa rarely articulate the subtlety and nuance of its people or their existence. The clichés and commonly held notions of Africa and Africans as poor, corrupt and criminally inclined, crowd out a more balanced view of the extraordinary diversity and creativity of everyday existence.
It is within this combination of reality and fiction that the Africa Centre has found its purpose. Our intention is to use Pan-African cultural practice as a tool to: manifest what otherwise would only sit in our imaginations; release new ideas and make them freely accessible to receptive audiences; and ensure that people living on this soil can define for themselves what is possible and what their reality looks like.
Although grand in its ambitions, the Africa Centre is not trying to solve the continent’s challenges, but rather to provide alternative ways of seeing them, offer solutions and create models that can be replicated and applied by others.
Today the vision of the Africa Centre is brought to life through a range of programmes presented both in live format across Africa, and through virtual media for anyone to engage with. Our current projects – Artists in Residency, Badilisha Poetry X-Change, Everyday African Urbanism, Infecting the City, Talking Heads and WikiAfrica – all celebrate and encapsulate what it means to be in Africa today and what is conceivable for 21st-century Africans.