from SABRINA IDRISSI in Rabat, Morocco
RABAT, (CAJ News) – RABAT, Morocco’s capital city, has officially been launched as the Capital of African Culture, a development that raises the city’s international profile.
The launch at a ceremony at the Mohammed V Theatre is the official celebration of the February 2020 decision when the Committee of African Capitals of Culture officially announced the choice of Rabat.
The United Cities and Local Governments United of Africa, the wilaya of Rabat-Salé-Kenitra region, the prefecture of Rabat and the City Council of Rabat, graced the occasion that was marked by the presence of several officials, ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Kingdom.
Top Moroccan artists performed at the event.
In an opening speech delivered on his behalf, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, welcomed Rabat’s new status, under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
“It reflects the special interest that His Majesty grants to the African dimension of the Kingdom and the importance of strengthening relations between our country and our African brothers,” the minister was quoted.
Bensaid said the celebration of Rabat as the capital of African culture was an opportunity to present to the world the bright face of the ancient African civilization and highlight the deep Afro-Moroccan ties.
He added the status shone the spotlight on the great development that the city of lights is experiencing as one of the major African and world capitals, with a global renaissance that combines the most beautiful aspects of originality, modernity and African cultural diversity.
This is also seen as an opportunity to highlight the richness and diversity of African culture.
Mayor of Rabat, Asmae Rhlalou, said the capital of the Kingdom will be, for a whole year, a cultural and artistic African destination, since the activities of this celebration will continue until May 2023.
She added the city was rich with its diverse cultural heritage, highlighting the role played by the pioneering royal project: “Rabat, the Capital of Lights.”
Rabat is home to Morocco’s most important museum, the Royal Palace, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, as well as several historical tourist attractions.
Fatimou Abdel-Malik, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa President, said her organisation was at the forefront of celebrating capitals of African culture.
“We further strive to make culture in African cities a vector to reconfirm the sense of belonging and self-respect,” Abdel-Malik said.
The programme of celebrations of Rabat includes the organisation of activities and events in the fields of literature, poetry, visual arts, music, theatre, cinema, street arts, dance, digital arts, fashion shows, photography, folk arts, storytelling and circus arts.
This is in addition to forums and intellectual meetings.
The activities will be organised in historical spaces, public squares and all the neighbourhoods of the city, with the participation of representatives of the civil society and national public institutions concerned with cultural affairs.
Marrakech, Morocco’s economic hub, was Capital of African Culture in 2020.
– CAJ News