Photo Flash: Meet ACEC's Creative Industries Policy Experts
This year's African Creative Economy Conference (ACEC) takes place in one week's time - and some of the world's most incisive, creative and thought-provoking strategists, academics, entrepreneurs and artists will shortly debate how to unlock the potential of the creative economies. This year, speakers and panellists at Cape Town's City Hall (6-9 October) will focus on the continent's creative industries as economic drivers, highlighting their potential contribution to the eradication of poverty and underpinning of democracy and human rights.
The dazzling line-up ranges from think-tank directors to fashion entrepreneurs, musicians to government ministers. This photo flash introduces five of the creative entrepreneurs who will contribute their expertise to the conference.
Didier Awadi is uncontestably the most visible rap figure of Francophone Africa. Laureate of the RFI prize in 2003, he is both an artist and an entrepreneur and also devotes his energy to film directing and artistic production. After the international success of POSITIVE BLACK SOUL, he continued producing acclaimed records such as ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE or SUNUGAAL. With a devoted and thoughtful Pan-Africanism, Didier delves into themes that are crucial to the continent such as, heritage, illegal migration and political tensions. He participates in the structuring of the musical sector in Senegal through his label, recording studio, and rehearsal space, Studio Sankara. In 2010, he launched his "Presidents of Africa" project, where he revisits Africa's history, from the independences to contemporary times, using speeches from the 'founding fathers' as primary material. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Cheikh Anta Diop all meet the voices of artists like M-one, Dead Prez, Tiwoni, Lady Sweety, Smockey from Burkina Faso or Swatta Kamp from South Africa and Lexxus from the DRC to name a few. Today, after the success of his documentary "The point of view of the Lion" - presented at the Cannes Festivals Pavilion of the World in 2011 - and the success of "United States of Africa", Didier is preparing a future project in cinema. Didier launched a new album in 2012, MY REVOLUTION in line with his ideology and values. Didier offers a militant and mind-awakening rap, one that is also uplifting and integrates sounds of the continent. His challenge is to make people "think" while they dance and participate in the creation of a conscious generation.
Jaouad Essounani is the director, playwright and artistic director of the Dabateatre Company of Rabat in Morocco. After obtaining a law degree in Fez, he passed the Institut Supérieur d'Art Dramatique et d'Animation Culturelle (ISADAC) exam in 1999. In 2004 he founded his own theatre company Dabateatre and directed CHAMAA, an adaptation of DEATH AND THE MAIDEN by Ariel Dorfman. In 2006, he was named as one of Labo-Mix's 13 artists selected by the Bureau of International Youth (BIJ) at the World Summit of La Francophonie in Bucharest and was one of the five artists to receive a fellowship from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IFA) in Germany. From 2007 to 2009, he was a resident artist at The Royal Court Theatre of London where he worked with David Greig, Elyse Dogdson and other International Artists. In 2008, he wrote and directed Tributes, a mosaic play of characters that try to explore, through clichés, what remains rooted in memory after departures. In that same year he gave co-directorship of the Dabateatre to Driss Ksikes, and directed the play IT/Houwa for which he won the Grand Prize in Theatre and a National Award. Jaouad continues to experiment with an engaged theatre; a citizen's theatre that interrogates norms and shakes off all forms of conformism. His directorship of the DabaTeatre gives a platform to many different forms of art including circus, dance and music. He works towards the idea of art as a totality.
Omoyemi Akerele is the Creative Director and founder of Style House, a Nigerian fashion creative development agency. She switched to fashion after a legal career (University of Lagos, then a Master's degree in International Economic Law - University of Warwick, and work in a prestigious Nigerian law firm.) Omoyemi pioneered image consulting and styling in Nigeria, becoming the Fashion Editor of True Love West Africa lifestyle magazine. She then created Stylehousefiles, a fashion development agency that spots emerging designers and supports them with initiatives such as 'Buy Nigerian'. Her commitment to promote, nurture and develop the fashion industry led to the establishment of Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Omoyemi's role as fashion ambassador and spokesperson has earned her notable collaborations and nominations for panels such as the International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference, British Council Creative Industries Expo, Creative Enterprises Forum and partnerships to promote Nigerian fashion with the Austrian and British embassies. She presented a selection of Nigerian designers at British Fashion Council's International Fashion Showcase 2012 and 2013, Pitti Immagine W in Florence 2012 and 2013, Vogue Talent Milan Fashion Week and Ndani Space at Selfridges, London. Omoyemi will share her inspirational story on Tuesday 8 October in the slot 'How are they doing it?'
Johnny Muteba is the founder and CEO of Creative South Africa, working with emerging and traditional media, high definition cinema, Live Theatre, social networks and the contextual blending of media to produce pedagogically-determined educational tools. In particular, his work incorporates the techniques of merging narrative film, documentary and emerging media products into the pedagogical framework of the creative industry value chain. He offers a broad range of professional services for artists, corporations, universities and government; he taps into the power of creativity to innovate lives, bottom lines, organizations and communities that sustain us. Johnny has acted in, directed and produced more than eight films for both local and international markets and has seen his work featured on Mzansi Magic, Soweto TV and SABC, to name a few. The titles of his films are: JESUS IN HILLBROW, THE SECRET, JULIUS HAS A DREAM, MASHELENG, KISS THE BRIDE, ROCKEY STREET, TILL DEBTS DO US PART and PAYBACK. His ability to connect entrepreneurial vision, creative passion and innovative problem-solving and his enthusiasm and experience ensure that he is able to provide compelling insights, interesting ideas and refreshing approaches.
Patrick Schofield is a serial entrepreneur. Graduating with a Bachelor of Business Science (Hons) from the University of Cape Town, Patrick started his first enterprise in community publishing, which is still going strong. Over the past 15 years Patrick has founded, invested in and consulted to a wide range of organisations and spoken locally and internationally on entrepreneurship, social enterprise, creativity and innovation in finance. Inspired by the power and potential of the crowd funding model, particularly within the venture start-up space, he launched Thundafund.com - the online crowd funding platform for creative practitioners and innovators in Africa - in June 2013. This is already exceeding initial money-raising projections. Patrick has received numerous accolades such as Top Billing Entrepreneur of the Year, Cape Times Personality of the Year - Editors Choice, Social Entrepreneur of the Year for South Africa & Africa and membership of the World Economic Forum Council on Innovation & Design. He is a life-time Schwab Fellow.
The conference brochure and programme are available from the Arterial Network website. Registration fees for the conference are R2239/delegate from Africa, R3278/delegate from Central, America, South America or Asia, and R6000/delegate from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Registration can be completed by visiting the website (www.acec2013.org.za) or by email (ACEC2013@ccdi.org.za). Find out more about the African Creative Economy Conference on Twitter and Facebook.