In this 65th issue dated December 2005, Africultures (the reference magazine for African cultures) reviews the contemporary African creation for the last decade, 1995-2005, designated as “ten innovating, ebullient, striking years, for the evolution in aesthetics as well as for recombining cultural landscapes”. In her editorial note, Mrs. Mensah Ayoko stresses that over the years, within a background of impoverishment, disengagement on the part of States and restriction of the freedom of expression, the breaking off has kept on enlarging between artists and public authorities. Only since the nineties, in a context of combined timid democratization and globalization, have new private dynamics been created and not exclusively in the field of music, which at the mercy of multiple initiatives has rapidly popularized the voices of Africa.
Thus, the paper which analyzes the changes in the francophone African cultural field and the hazards of its development, reports that in Mali, for example, the musical file contributes more to the gross national product than the traditional industrial sector. In the editorialist’s viewpoint, this says much about the potential richness to be found within culture. But these will be exploited and have a local impact only if the economy of that sector sets up its own structure, supported by genuine cultural policies, at all territorial levels. The document also reveals that in ten years, the artistic practices and their financing have deeply been modified over the continent. The development of the North-South cooperation has much to do with it. Real international assistance circuits have been set up, favouring the emergence of African artists on the Western stages and art markets. Positive under many aspects, this globalization of production means, but also of dissemination, does not happen without contradictions or questions, asserts the editorialist.
This document, whose role is to give an account on the complexity and interest of African creativity in the 21st Century, swarms with diverse contributions and opinions, remarks and questions, prospects and comparisons. One may discover among others subjects: Developing the economy of culture, a project for tomorrow; Networks, miracle remedy for cutural development; New paradoxes of the Black Africa cinemas; The Francophonie, a shield against cultural standardization (article signed by the Secretary General of the Francophonie).