As more ranking lists make their way into the media for public analysis and discussion, one of the latest is the five most creative cities in the world for 2019.
Put together by the BBC, the list explores what makes a city a creative hub and why the five selected make the list. The article explores the fact that history and how it is interpreted and preserved in new ways by the people as well as the individual creatives and their efforts all come together to make a city part of the list.
While the list features cities like Mexico City and Bangkok, only one African city makes the cut and that happens to be the West African city of Dakar, capital of Senegal.
While this may come as a surprise to many, as several other cities might have come to mind, we take time to explore the various reasons that make Dakar Africa’s most creative city!
The Museum of Black Civilizations
With its opening in December 2018, The Museum of Black Civilizations has become one of the most talked-about and visited places in Africa and it’s home country Senegal. With its mission to regain the majority if not all of the looted artefacts taken from Africa, the museum has several exhibitions such as Cradle of Humankind, African Civilizations: Continuous Creation of Humanity, The Caravan and Caravel and others that explore the African continent and its interaction with Western countries from the past to present.
An army of creatives
Senegal is slowly taking Africa by storm with its fast-growing creative industry. Not only has there been a swift turn in the approach to creativity, but there is also a huge global respect for the meaningful art coming out of the country. From music, architecture, fine arts, photography to literature, the creativity from Senegal has been noted to be original and in tune with the new African and their interpretation of the world they find themselves as well as their connection with history and identity. With names such as Kassou Seydou, Selly Raby-Kane and Mohammed Mbougar Sarr and a ton of creatives from the black diaspora seeking residency in the country, there is no denying that the country and its capital are slowly becoming the creative haven of Africa.
Home of creative events
Named the creative metropolis of West Africa, Dakar is the host city of several creative events and festivals that draw people from near and wide to its city every year. Festivals like World Festival of Black Arts, Biennial of Contemporary African Art, St Louis Jazz Festival, Dakar International Neighborhood Film Festival, Festigraff Hip Hop Festival, World Festival of Negro Arts, International Book Fair of Dakar, Dakar Arts Festival and several others. It’s no surprise that the city is the most creative city in Africa.
Creative museums, centers and residents
Aside its very famous Museum of Black Civilizations, Dakar is also home to several other museums and historical sites such as IFAN Museum of African Art, House of slaves, Léopold Sedar Senghor museum, Boribana contemporary arts museum and several others that offer short courses, scholarships residencies, host events and engage the creative industry in several ways that bring them together.