Memory and/in the Mirror: FESPACO, a platform for a Global Africa?

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The cinema as a medium and an art form has been a major consideration in
Africa’s struggles against colonialism. These struggles, which encompass aspirations to establish Africa’s cultural and political autonomy in the postcolonial era, are ongoing. Marking the 26th edition of the Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television (FESPACO) therefore was considered as an important opportunity for reflection. More so, the occasion was taken as a call to re-engage with the challenge of shaping and transforming ‘the Continent’s greatest cultural event’ for the future. The 2019 festival was launched around the colloquium theme: ‘Confronting our memory and shaping the future of a Pan-African cinema in its essence, economy and diversity’. This article begins with an account of the colloquium and reflects on the knowledge production dimension of the festival, which has been a core component of FESPACO’s identity and existence. It also seeks to situate the event of the 50th anniversary in a continuum of critical discussions about the festival, its past, present and future, and in relation to the seminal aspirations of African filmmakers for an African cinema, its challenges and opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-87
JournalJournal of African Cinemas
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • JCC
  • Pan-African cinema
  • Film archives
  • Colloquium

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