A discussion with Felwine Sarr, Baloji (tbc), Marilyn Douala Bell, Teddy Mazina and Rokia Traoré.
'Africa has no catching up to do. It mustn't anymore run on tracks laid out, but rather walk firmly on the path it will have chosen'. These words sum up the radical thought of Felwine Sarr. According to this Senegalese economist and author, Africa can offer the world a new 'civilisation project' that is more respectful of man and the environment, it it succeeds itself in undertaking a 'profound cultural revolution, and delivers the innovation it carries within'. Sarr's latest book Afrotopia, published in 2016, was met with immediate international recognition. In it, the author deconstructs the 'western development myth' and proposes a 'active utopia to unearth and fertilise the vast spaces of possibilities existing in the African  realm'. In such a project, Sarr sees an important role for African intellectuals, thinkers and artists.
BOZAR has assembled  several remarquable artists around Felwine Sarr for this evening discussion: Baloji,  Marilyn Douala Bell,Teddy Mazina et Rokia Traoré. They will debate together the concept of development, the role of culture in the Continent's future, and the utopia proposed by Felwine Sarr. The discussion will be punctuated by artistic interludes.

The discussion is moderated by Ayoko Mensah, BOZAR Africa desk




Felwinne Sarr

Felwinne Sarr, born in Senegal in 1972, is a writer, academic, philosopher and bookseller. He is professor of economy and teaches at the university Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis du Sénégal. In October 2016, Felwinne Sarr organized with Achille Mbembe the first edition of the Ateliers de la pensée in Dakar. Afrotopia is his fourth book. At first he published Dahij (2009), 105 rue Carnot (2011) and Méditations africaines (25012).



Balojio was born in Lumumbashi (Congo) in 1978. He is a rapper and multidisciplinary artist. He came to live in Belgium with his father when he was 4. In 2008 he brings his first solo album out, Hotel Impala, a certified golden record. This success launches his international career. It is followed by Kinshasa succursale in 2010, 64 Bits and Malachite in 2015. Nowadays Baloji works between Europe and Africa and conducts multidisciplinary artistic projects.


Marylin Douala Manga Bell

Princesse Marylin Douala Manga Bell is a socio-economist and chairperson of the cultural organisation Doual’Art (Douala, Cameroon) she co-founded in 1991. In 2007 Doual’Art launches the Salon Urbain de Douala (SUD), a triennial international festival about art in public spaces. Rapidly the art centre becomes a reference for creating, producing and accompanying artistic projects in the public spaces of the African cities.


Teddy Mazina

Teddy Mazina was born in Burundi in 1972. He is a photographer, journalist and activist for the defense of human rights in Burundi. After being a political refugee in Belgium for 12 years, he returns to Burundi in 2007. Then he founds “Piga Picha” (movement for an independent image in Burundi), later the “Studio Clan-Destin”. The main purpose of his pictures is to document the socio-political topics in Burundi in order to “ fight against oblivion and violence”. In 2015 Africalia publishes a book about him “Des Tambours sur l’oreille d’un sourd/Burundi”. In 2017 he receives in Geneva the Martine Anstett Prize for his implication in defending human rights.


Rokia Traoré

Rokia Traoré was born near  Bamako (Mali) in 1974. She is a singer, songwriter and composer  who has been internationally successful  right from the start of her career. She published six albums between 1998 and 2016. In 2009 she founds the Fondation Passerelle to help young musical and artistic creativity in Mali. She is also goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, sharing her time between Europe and Africa.

See also