Founded in 2019 by Mick Richard Nahimana and Julie Gossart, both of whom have strong ties to the continent (Mick from Burundi, and Julie who has been working with the African creative scene for the past few years). Panafrican Festival Berlin managed to see light legally under the Verein Kulturgesellschaft e.V.
“Our collaboration started to grow organically while working on the organisation of concerts and exhibitions of African artists from Rwanda, Ghana, Burundi, Senegal , Gambia, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania via Mimosa/Sabobe/Crazy Monday and VAB both in Europe and on the continent.”
The collaboration grew out of good responses to a small networking event in Berlin East Africa connect held at Hosek Contemporary Art Gallery and a jam session featuring many artists from the Berlin African diaspora held at Yaam. The idea evolved into “why don’t we actually create one ‘container’ that can serve as a forum to the diversity of stakeholders and be a platform for the amazing people in our networks and beyond?”.
Tired of the common clichés about the continent, we wanted a platform to address distorted visions and replace them with something more authentic and current.
The 2020 edition was our ‘pilot project’, further scaled-down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The original plan had been for multiple locations around Neukölln included an open market, concerts on Richard Wagner Platz, and open air cinema in the Hasenheide Park. What we produced, while much smaller than planned, involved multiple artists, speakers, writers, directors, cooks, and musicians from African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Senegal, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and Burundi. For safety reasons, we attracted a significantly scaled down physical audience of 300.