Cape Town — The goal of #INFORAFRICA is to deliver preventive and life-saving messages across the continent, as well as supporting initiatives which fight the disease, create a positive impact on local communities, and contribute to achieving resilience. In addition to this, #INFORAFRICA will raise funds for some of the most vulnerable on the continent. These funds will initially go to the United Nations Foundation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support the World Health Organization's efforts to fight the pandemic, and deliver humanitarian relief. AllAfrica spoke with comedian and actor Eddie Kadi, global curator of the INFORAFRICA Festival, starting today - Africa Day.
With all the events and fundraising around the novel coronavirus in Africa, why is it important for you to do the INFORAFRICA Festival?
We wanted to show that the diasporans are in it together; they're all united around the world to elevate the continent. We are all showing our support and we wanted to show that we are the voice of the voiceless. It was also very important for us to change the narrative when it comes to aid for Africa. You know, a lot of the times they just showcase one face of Africa but actually there are a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of geniuses, a lot of creative talent , business-minded people and communities that are helping themselves already on ground, so this is not another situation where Africa is helpless. This is us just trying to highlight all the different organisations who are already working and wanted to show solidarity with them. So it's very, very important for us to all come together and actually let them know it's not just those who are on ground but also the whole diaspora all over the world are in it for Africa.
What is the tie-in with Africa Day? What does it mean to have it begin on this day?
Africa Day actually commemorates the founding of the African Union, so we wanted to make sure that we aligned it with this day as the African Union is one of our partners. We've aligned ourselves with their goals, making sure every single part of the continent gets their fair share, gets their fair opportunity for relief, aid and representation and, of course, this is the day that everybody celebrates in Africa so wanted to actually show that Africa is colourful, it's vibrant, it's forward-thinking and it's full of innovators. It's not just a continent that's sitting there waiting for help, so it's very, very important for us to do that on Africa Day.
It spans over a few days. What do you consider the highlights?
I think for me the most important part is getting the diaspora and those who are also on ground in the continent come together and create dialogue, talking about how we can move forward, sharing ideas from their different backgrounds and their different languages. Africa is so diverse, so many different cultures, it's so beautiful to hear these stories, to also see those people are actually doing amazing things in their various countries and communities to help during this COVID-19 pandemic. So to be able to showcase all those is things is also amazing but, of course, today we also launch the Afrodance Challenge to show all the different African dance moves that you can actually showcase and this is in partnership with TikTok, so that was a little exciting for me as well for some of our influencers to properly celebrate the best way we know how and that's dancing.
During this lockdown period we've all realized how crucial the arts is for mental health. A must-have vs a nice-to-have. When all this is over, or at least under control, how do you continue building that respect for what is sometimes not considered "a real job"?
I think during this period we realise that the things we take for granted are things that have saved us, especially the arts; we can see a lot of DJs have gone online entertaining people and, of course, we've seen comedians continue to make people laugh. Even normal people are joining in too, entertaining themselves and their families, so it goes to show that it plays a ridiculously important role in our society and, for me, this has been a passion for a long time so it's never felt like a job and that will never change. And it's just for people to understand that at any given time it's very easy to underestimate someone else's ability until you actually need it. So after this whole situation is done, I'll continue to do what I always do which is combine my gifts and my love for Africa which creates my purpose.
How do citizens across the continent get involved?
One of the main things we want everyone to know is that you do not have to be a celebrity or big personality to be an influencer. An influencer is someone who is able to impact the community and those around them. A lot of us have grown up around influencers, whether it's our grandparents or our parents or our older siblings, our uncles and aunties so we ask that you actually start spreading the good information, making sure that you don't spread fake news, make sure you check the right sources before you pass on any information.
At the same time, also do follow @GETINFORAFRICA on social media and their website. We're looking for innovative stories, we're looking for inspirational stories that happen across the continent. If you have any of that, do send us information on DMs. Also, firstname.lastname@example.org is the email.
You can also find me @comeddiekadi on Instagram as well so it's all about hashtagging #InForAfrica, hashtagging #GetInForAfrica and just sharing the story. More importantly, make sure you keep yourself and your family safe and unite because we are one as African people wherever we are around the world.