Zimbabwean author, life coach and motivational speaker Rabison Shumba will today officially open the Bergen Afro-Arts Festival (BAAF) that will run in the west-coast Norwegian city until Saturday.
Shumba, who is the keynote speaker, will present a paper on the Day of the African Child, commemorated annually on the continent.
This year's celebrations are running under the theme: "25 Years After the Adpotion of the African Children's Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa".
The renowned life coach, who has written several motivational books, said in a telephone interview with the Daily News yesterday that he seeks to inspire Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, as well as the Norwegian community on Africa on issues of the younger generation and its contribution to the continent's development.
"I feel young people have resigned to be back-benchers on the train of destiny when they are the ones who will be occupying African space in the not-so-distant future," said Shumba.
"They should make effective use of technology, social media and education as the pillars behind their success instead of resorting to violence and other forms of expression that are contrary to development."
First initiated by the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991. It honours those who participated in the June 16, 1976 Soweto Uprising. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
In Soweto South Africa on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black schoolchildren marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot dead, the most famous of which was Hector Peterson.
The Bergen Afro Arts Festival is a non-profit making organisation whose primary aim lies in pulling the African community in Bergen, Norway together without regard to race, social standing, occupation, political or religious beliefs.
Through this encounter, the BAAF aims to "edutain", educate and entertain the participants and public in the spirit of Ubuntu (humaneness), Umoja (unity) and Uhuru (freedom).
Local, Diaspora/ international underground, un/known artists will be invited to emphasise the impact of the festival with its communal approach.
This year, the BAAF will host Burundi digital painter Francine Jensen, Musicians, Senegalese Ibou Cisookho, Jimu Mukurumbandi from Zimbabwe, United Kingdom based Zimbabwean artiste John Pfumojena as well as Mophato Dance Theatre from Botswana. Ubuntu and Guest, a Bergen-based traditional dance group which includes Rwandese, Burundian performers and several other nationalities, is also scheduled to perform.