Entangled Panafrica

Four Festivals and an Archive

First Words 1

The moment has stayed with every person who witnessed it. Free Jazz pioneer Archie Shepp improvising live on the street, surrounded by hundreds of onlookers in a trance to his otherworldly beats. The place:  Algiers. The occasion:  PANAF, the First Pan-African Cultural Festival, organized in 1969 by the Algerian government. Tens of thousands of people attended, hailing from across the African world, continental and diasporic alike. Théo Robichet, a Guevarist filmmaker from Paris, recorded the scene.2 In his viewfinder, Shepp appears in a shirt made of printed cloth bearing the logo of another festival, held three years earlier in Dakar: the First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN).

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For those who know the story of these two great Pan-African events, the jazzman’s choice of outfit may come as a surprise. Much has been made of the fact that PANAF was a rebuke to FESMAN, a rejection of everything for which the Dakar festival stood: Léopold Senghor’s philosophy of Negritude and his admiration for French culture and politics, most notably. And, indeed, the Algiers event was attended by many for whom Senghor’s vision was anathema. The philosopher Stanislas Adotevi and the writer Henri Lopes are cases in point. Still, Shepp’s shirt suggests, there was more to the story.

Close attention paid to the relationship between PANAF and FESMAN shows that drawing clear-cut distinctions between the two is more problematic than might at first appear. Comparisons with two other major Pan-African events, the Second World Festival of Negro Arts (FESTAC), held in Lagos in 1977, and Zaïre 74, hosted in Kinshasa three years earlier, further complicate matters. The typical approach to these key moments of the early independence period has been monographic; each is treated as a discrete event.3 A focus on the intimate ties that link the four festivals suggests the need for a different kind of take: one that brings to the fore their elaborate imbrication. Such a lens highlights the wealth and the complexity of both their symbolic and their political heft.


Call and Response

Each of the four festivals was a major event, remembered to this day as a richly singular moment in the history of the country where it took place. By focusing on the festivals as one-off events, however, a great deal is lost. As much as individual moments, they were links in a chain, intimately tied to one another in terms of structure, form, and goals. People, symbols, and modes of representation traveled from one to another, creating a powerful call and response effect. This effect, however, is for the most part overlooked—or at any rate underplayed—in present-day accounts.

All four festivals were conceived, each in its own way, as a celebration of the Africa yet to come. They were profoundly hopeful events, crafted with an eye toward imagining the future of the countries in which they were held and, ultimately, of the continent at large. Individually and as a cluster, they were seen to function as laboratories for the development of new, continent-wide politics and cultures.

In this regard they collectively built on events dating from pre-Independence years: vast Pan-African gatherings that had taken place in Europe. Key among these were the First and Second Congress of Black Writers and Artists, held in Paris and Rome in 1956 and 1959, as well as the much earlier First Pan-African Conference (London, 1900). These precursor events were central moments in the elaboration of an intellectual project geared at imagining what a Pan-African vision of the world might constitute in the 20th century. Like the festivals of the 1960s and ‘70s that they would go on to inspire, they were focused on the continent’s tomorrows.

The influence of the Pan-African congresses on the festivals of the 1960s and ‘70s took a range of forms. Most important among these was the staging of large colloquia bringing together key figures on the intellectual scene of the day. At these gatherings, conferences were given and discussions and publications ensued, concerning the place of African languages, literatures, and art forms in the construction of new, independent, and forward-looking societies across the continent and its diasporas.

As historian Andrew Apter has shown in regard to FESTAC,4 the festivals were also inspired by another type of event: world’s fair and universal expositions of the colonial era. Here, however, a reversal was at hand: a desire on the part of the festival organizers to distance themselves from this genre of gathering, the primary purpose of which had been to tell a tale of European hegemony over peoples of African heritage. Colonial expositions commonly featured displays of art and architecture, as well as performances by African women and men: displays intended to show, simultaneously, the inferiority of the objects and people on display and the superiority of the colonial powers at whose behest they were being showcased. Taking this type of representation to task, the festivals of the 1960s and ‘70s featured exhibitions of both historical and contemporary art and elaborate performances (dance, music, theater, masquerade), with the purpose of celebrating the African world’s creativity as a source of inspiration for the world at large.

Sculpture by Ivoirian artist Christian Lattier at modern art exhibition held during the First World festival of Negro Arts (Dakar, 1966). Photo courtesy Jean Mazel / PANAFEST Archive.


Clearly, there were differences between the Dakar, Algiers, Lagos, and Kinshasa festivals, expressed in the colloquia, exhibitions, and performances around which each event was built. Still, the similarities are striking. Consider the Dakar and Algiers festivals. At both, a grand exhibition of masks and statuary from across the continent was mounted. Given the focus that has often been put on differences between the two festivals, one could perhaps expect that the artworks shown would have been quite different. In fact, many of the same objects were exhibited in both contexts, suggesting a strong sense of continuity. The same is true of performances. At both festivals (as at FESTAC), national delegations were invited to participate and present highlights of their country’s culture. In many instances, the same troupes appeared in both settings. This is noteworthy because, in theory at least, the political intents of the two festivals were quite different. Dakar, in Senghor’s image, was—or, rather, sought to present itself as—a staid, a seamless and, in many respects, a patriarchal event, whereas Algiers cast itself as a revolutionary moment of effervescence. Still, in both cases, an official delegation was present from Cameroon, which at the time was ruled with an iron fist by Ahmadou Ahidjo, a staunch ally of France. Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s Côte-d’Ivoire, equally close to France, was present as well and represented, in both cases, by the same playwright, Bernard Dadié. Such ties between the two festivals help explain why Archie Shepp appears in Algiers wearing the Dakar festival’s logo: whether consciously or not, he is speaking to a dialogue between two of the most galvanising cultural events held in Africa in the decade following Independence.

Similar links tie the Kinshasa festival to its Dakar and Algiers predecessors. The 1974 event, remembered above all for the “Rumble in the Jungle,” a stunning upset match between heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and contender Muhammad Ali, was not a festival per se, but nonetheless was presented as such by the leader of Zaïre at the time, Mobutu Sese Seko. In order to market the event as a festival in the lineage of FESMAN and PANAF, Mobutu borrowed liberally from the roster of symbols and ideas deployed in Dakar and Algiers. Performers who had been invited to Dakar and Algiers, and who were slated to appear in Lagos, were brought to Kinshasa in great pomp. A case in point was Miriam Makeba, whose performance on a Kinshasa stage on the occasion of the festival is immortalized in Leon Gast’s famous film When We Were Kings (1996).5

Stadium arrayed with a giant portrait of Mobutu Sese Seko on the occasion of the Zaïre 74 festival (Kinshasa, 1974). Photo courtesy private photographic collection, Kinshasa / PANAFEST Archive


A mask highlighted in the first two festivals, notably on stamps, wax prints, and pamphlet covers, found its way into furniture designed for the luxury lounge at the heart of the Rumble stadium, where VIPs mingled before the match. Massive construction was undertaken to transform the center of the city, precisely as was done in Dakar and, later, Lagos, the goal being to present Kinshasa as the core of a modern Africa facing toward the future. Like Senghor, who built his entire festival around a celebration of himself and his philosophy of Negritude, Mobutu dreamed the Kinshasa festival as an incarnation of Authenticité, the banner under which he ruled. And, patterning himself on Algeria, which held the first Pan-African festival at the behest of the Organization of African Unity, Mobutu dispatched a high-ranking delegation to Addis Ababa to request (and receive) the OAU’s permission to hold his own festival, which he billed as the second PANAF.6

VIP room in stadium, designed to receive honored guests during the famed “Rumble in the Jungle” on the occasion of the Zaïre 74 festival (Kinshasa, 1974). Photo courtesy private photographic collection, Kinshasa / PANAFEST Archive.


Between the Lagos festival and its Dakar and Algiers predecessors there were close links as well. Here again, Miriam Makeba was on the guest list—indeed, she was the festival’s star—and, as in Algiers, Mobutu’s Zaïre was on hand as one of the official country delegations. Ahidjo’s Cameroon and Houphouët’s Côte-d’Ivoire were there as well. In Algiers, several anti-colonial and revolutionary movements (Mozambique’s FRELIMO and Angola’s MPLA, among others) were present. In Lagos, this was the case too. Most strikingly, the FESTAC logo, a depiction of the world famous Idia mask pillaged in the Benin kingdom by British troops in 1897, was also Nigeria’s symbol when it took part in the Dakar festival—this despite the fact that the later Lagos event sought to present itself as a distinct departure from both the Dakar and the Algiers festivals. This little-discussed genealogy of the Idia mask logo, like Shepp’s shirt, points to a complicated back and forth between festivals, which official histories, focused on the events as unique moments, tend to bypass.

FRELIMO delegation in attendance at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969). Photo Luc-Daniel Dupire / PANAFEST Archive.


Linking the Dakar, Algiers, Kinshasa, and Lagos festivals in ways that have, to date, drawn scant attention were also highly problematic behind the scenes interventions. A case in point was meddling by the US government. In retrospect, all four events appear to have been staging grounds for CIA activity. In 1967, the North American magazine Ramparts,7 and in tandem with this The New York Times,8 published exposés showing that the CIA had for years covertly funded, and thereby infiltrated, key US- and Western Europe-based cultural organizations. Among these was the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC).9 This came as an unpleasant surprise to many rank and file members of AMSAC10 and, in particular, to a sizeable group of African American women and men whose participation in FESMAN had been facilitated by AMSAC sponsorship. The plane that had brought them to Dakar, it turned out, had been chartered with CIA funds.11 Several participants in the 1969 festival interviewed on the subject state their certainty (as well as rumors rife on the streets of the Algerian capital at the time) that, among the international journalists on-site for the event, there were a number of CIA, or more broadly US government, infiltrators. The same holds true for participants in the Kinshasa and Lagos festivals.

Such CIA involvement was linked to larger Cold War considerations. Developments surrounding the Dakar festival underscore this. Aboard the AMSAC-sponsored plane was an important contingent of African American artists, intellectuals, and performers. The latter constituted the core of the North American delegation to the festival. This delegation was funded by the United States Department of State. By way of such support, the diplomatic arm of the American government sought to present abroad a picture of the United States as a country open to the voices of its African American minority—a far cry from the actual state of affairs in a nation still riven by violent segregation. The ultimate goal of this exercise was to counter Soviet representations of the US, so as to woo newly independent nations in the East-West contest for global hegemony.12

The USSR was present at FESMAN as well. Aboard a 750-passenger steamer anchored in the Dakar port, the Rossia, it hosted numerous VIP events and, significantly, an exhibition focusing on the Atlantic slave trade. The Central State Studio of the Order of the Red Flag dispatched a crew of cameramen to record key moments of the festival. Their footage became the basis for a film directed by Irina Venzher and Leonid Makhnatch, titled Rhythms of Africa (1966).13 Films of this kind were intended for projection abroad, as a means of promoting the USSR in ally countries. To similar propagandistic ends, the United States Information Agency (USIA)14 commissioned documentary films to be shown outside of the US.  In the context at hand, it called on William Greaves, a pioneer of African American documentary cinema, to produce a film on the Dakar event for projection across Africa. The commission was for a documentary focusing on the African American presence at the festival, which could be presented in newly independent nations as evidence of the United States’ embrace of African and Afro-descendant interests and concerns.15



The imbrication of the Dakar festival in the global Cold War web and the way in which this is echoed by the presence of the CIA at the Algiers, Kinshasa, and Lagos festivals provide still another example of ways in which ideas, objects and people moved back and forth between the events under consideration. The story of these four pivotal moments is one of complex entanglement. This entanglement, in turn, mirrors the extraordinary complexity of a time when, casting off the chains of colonialism, African nations were seeking to construct themselves in relation to (and at times in opposition to) one another, while simultaneously imagining the possibilities of a continent united beyond national boundaries. Synergies and contradictions abound, crisscrossing one another and, in so doing, speaking to a history infinitely more complex than is allowed for by mainstream accounts.

The gaze proposed here, with its focus on entanglement, marks a distinctive break with normative approaches to the Dakar, Algiers, Kinshasa, and Lagos festivals. When scholars move beyond the monographic stance referenced earlier on to think in more holistic terms about the events under consideration, they tend to favor teleological readings: narrative schemes that see in the four festivals a relatively clear and linear progression. FESMAN is perceived as the starting point of this teleology, followed by PANAF, which (as previously noted) is read almost exclusively as a counter-FESMAN.16 Then comes FESTAC, understood as a synthesis of the two prior festivals. Zaïre 74 is rarely mentioned, though, as we have seen, there exist undeniable links between this event and the other three.

Postcard showing the National Theatre in Lagos, architectural centerpiece of FESTAC (Lagos, 1977). PANAFEST Archive.


A reading that privileges linearity is certainly seductive. It constitutes, however, but one of many possible takes—one way among numerous others of understanding the relationship(s) between the four festivals. Other articulations can be proposed, which help excavate a more complex and far richer history of the events in question. From such a take, a picture emerges less of a series of festivals that followed one another than of a single, evolving event: one vast and shape-shifting festival that traveled across time and space. Considered from this vantage point, what looks initially like a simple progression leading from Dakar to Lagos, comes to be seen instead as a sort of Mobius strip, folding over itself to produce multiple forms and meanings. Ideas, symbols, and processes recur as the strip unfolds, taking on new appearances and significations.


Excavations: The PANAFEST Archive

The tendency of scholars and cultural actors today to think of the Dakar, Algiers, and Lagos festivals in monographic or teleological terms, and their failure to consider the Kinshasa festival in relation to the other three events, are intimately linked to available archival sources. To date, researchers have focused their attention primarily on official accounts—that is, on archives collected by the organizing countries. This makes for a narrow, or in any event a partial, point of view.

A research project currently underway, directed by the authors of these pages, adopts a broader stance. Titled PANAFEST Archive,17 it is predicated on a cross-pollination of official archives with a range of other types of archives: institutional, private, and constituted by the project itself. The latter, in particular, have drawn the PANAFEST team’s attention. A key goal is to make available—via filmed and recorded interviews, as well as via the collection of as yet unpublished (or unpublicized) documents, such as photographs, notes, and sketches, souvenir albums, and diaries—the memories of participants and spectators in the four festivals. Key among these witnesses are persons whom a focus on organizers and official guests tends to elide from view: individuals who, for a variety of reasons, remained out of the limelight (advisers, consultants, sponsors, diplomats); helpers (cameramen and women, electricians, hotel personnel, members of secretarial pools); French coopérants, expatriates, local and foreign business people, journalists…

Exchanges with such interlocutors allow a gaze on the four festivals that no official archive, considered alone, can offer. In the documentation conserved by an organizing country, researchers can mine precious data on preparatory phases, that is, on key steps leading up to a given festival. However, in terms of what actually came to pass during the event, they are unlikely to find much information. For official archives mostly end where the festivals they concern begin. They document what was planned, but provide little insight into how the plan unfolded. They cannot account for the unexpected—for such last-minute changes in content or form as might have been decided on by troupes, individual artists, or even organizers and for the impact of these on the public’s experience. The ephemeral, in other words, escapes them. Recollections by witnesses—and in particular by witnesses who were not there to cast an official gaze on the proceedings—help fill this gap. Such recollections shed light also on steps in the lead-up to individual festivals that official archives tend to underplay: false starts, failures, and re-orientations resulting from these.

In the case of FESMAN, moving beyond the official accounts of the organizing country proves very productive. Conserved in the National Archives of Senegal, the festival’s institutional archive tends to be seen by scholars as constituting the primary source on the lead-up to and the unfolding of the event. Its contents cover the years 1963 to 1966. While these contents are very rich, this renders the archive incomplete. Preparation began far earlier. As is well known, the project of a festival of Black culture to be staged at regular intervals on the African continent was first launched in 1959, at the Second Congress of Black Writers and Artists. Initially, the first edition of this festival was slated to take place in January 1961, in Bamako rather than Dakar. At the helm at the time in Bamako was Modibo Keïta. The latter, a committed Pan-Africanist and Third-worldist, would in all likelihood have hosted a far different kind of event than took place in 1966 on Senghor’s watch. For reasons that remain to be clarified, a few months into the preparation process, the decision was made to move the festival from Bamako to Dakar.18 The plan was to maintain the 1961 date, but this did not come to pass. Instead there followed three years of back and forth between various actors, focusing, notably on possible programing. Traces of these exchanges can be found in documents conserved at UNESCO and in the Michel Leiris archives (Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris).

Concerning the 1963-66 period addressed in the documents conserved in Dakar, complementary archival research is also necessary. A few examples are worth mentioning. Among these are archival holdings of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City and of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. In both settings key documents are conserved detailing preparations by the US delegation.19 Preparations by other country delegations require close attention as well. In the lead-up to its participation in the Dakar festival, Cameroon, to cite but one example, launched a reflection process focusing on cultural conservation policies; an issue of the journal Abbia published in 1966 attests to this.20 Rich sources concerning preparations for FESMAN are found also at the Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel in Switzerland; they concern a key exhibition which took place at the Musée dynamique in Dakar, a structure that was built specifically for the festival, and shed important light on the design of the Musée itself. To these few examples, many others might be added, both of institutional archives and archives such as the PANAFEST project itself has been collecting. Looking to and bringing together such diverse holdings casts a distinctly transnational light on the festival, which complexifies its understanding

The process of studying PANAF raises significant source questions as well. Concerning preparatory phases leading up to the event, unlike in Dakar and Lagos, we cannot look to official archives conserved in the organizing country, for such archives are not available. (A similar situation obtains for Zaïre 74.) Regarding the festival’s unfolding, the situation is equally complex. The many performances held in Algiers were by nature evanescent. Forty years after the fact, this shapes our understanding of the collective experience they represented. Of course, we have access to accounts of the performances in the Algerian, French, and US press. In order to grasp the sheer wealth and complexity of the event, however, it is necessary to explore other, less obvious sources of information. It proves useful, for instance, to look in the direction of jazz culture, for which the Algiers festival constitutes a critical marker: that of the official birth of Free Jazz. In this context, a certain after-the-fact production requires close attention: recordings that only became available later on the French label BYG Actuel, highlighting a number of musical performances recorded immediately after the festival, notably by Archie Shepp (on his album Jasmina, A Black Woman21) and Clifford Thornton (on his album Ketchaoua,22 which grew out of Thornton’s experience during PANAF as a member of Shepp’s quintet); a short, cinéma direct film by Théo Robichet, mentioned briefly above, centered on an improvised concert by Shepp during the festival on the streets of Algiers; a new version of the documentary that William Klein dedicated to PANAF, filmed on site during the festival but long left dormant and, in the interim, re-edited by Klein;23 recollections of the festival by Shepp, Klein, Robichet, and people who both worked and associated with them during the event.24

Free Jazz pioneer Archie Shepp on stage at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969). Photo Luc-Daniel Dupire / PANAFEST Archive.


Focusing on official archives, which, as we have noted, is often done, is problematic in still another respect. It makes little or no room for ways of doing and saying that might express forms of contestation. This is striking in the case of FESMAN. Drawing primarily on documentation conserved in the Senegalese National Archives, many accounts of the festival allow for a reading of it in terms only of normative discourses predominant at the time in Dakar. Yet, clearly, the voice of officialdom was not the only one heard. Partisans of Cheikh Anta Diop, a key intellectual and political opponent of the Senegalese president, it is widely known, objected to the festival, 25 and Wole Soyinka, though an official guest at the event, was overtly critical of it. This in turn begs a question: what of less visible (or audible) opponents, both to the festival itself and, more broadly, to Senghor’s policies? And what of criticism in Algiers, where, as the city officially celebrated the Non-Aligned Movement, torture ran rampant in the jails of the Boumediene regime? Or in Kinshasa, where rumor offered one of the sole means of expressing discontent with Mobutu Sese Seko’s violent repression?26 In Lagos, it is clear that a counter-discourse emerged in reaction to the festival, resulting in the creation of isolated but significant spaces of contestation, a key example of which was a series of concerts organized by the father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, a vocal opponent of the military government in power at the time. Despite a relatively important number of references to these concerts in the literature,27 few details about them are known or have been rendered public. One of the goals of the PANAFEST project is to collect archival data allowing for a better understanding of such counter-discourses as are pointed to by the foregoing examples.

One might object that such data, while they constitute a potential goldmine for thinking against the grain of official history, do not, strictly speaking, constitute archival material. For this reason precisely they pose the underlying question of what, in the final analysis, an archive for the type of event we are concerned with here might look like. As materials whose status remains to be determined, they can be seen as a warning against a priori definitions of the term archive. In doing so they prompt reflection around processes that shape and encode archival materials—processes that derive from the tendency to think of archives as entities whose content and location is relatively fixed.28 Allowing for the foregrounding of voices that express an alternative to official narratives of the festivals, interviews with participants in the four events are, in this context, paramount. By decentering the primacy of official documentation, they allow for empirical consideration of how archives come into being—that is, of the processes, the devices, and the manipulations that result in a given source being considered worthy of inclusion in a dedicated archive. For this reason, as previously noted, they are central to the work of the PANAFEST team.


In Closing

The PANAFEST project is built on a dual approach. First is a move away from reading FESMAN, PANAF, Zaïre 74, and FESTAC as distinct, individually circumscribed entities, in favor of focusing on their intimate links to one another. Considering any one of these key Pan-African festivals on its own—that is, as an internally coherent, homogenous whole—we argue, is problematic. Far more productive is a stance that foregrounds the complexity—one might even say the messiness—of their entanglement. Thinking of the Dakar, Algiers, Kinshasa, and Lagos events in these terms in turn requires a shift in perspective as regards sources one might mine to fully comprehend this entanglement.

Such a shift hinges on three, related propositions undergirding the work of the PANAFEST team:

·      Long seen as the de facto place to start for a proper understanding of the events in question, official organizing country archives are, in reality, just one of several possible sites that require the attention of researchers and need not at all be the latter’s first port of call;

·      To address the four festivals in all of their complexity, it is critical not only to consider other, extant bodies of documentation, but also to recognize that the archive-building process, as regards the four events, is an ongoing one, in many respects still in its infancy and likely to result in multiple twists and turns;

·      This process must be grounded in a definition of archives as labile entities fixed neither in space nor time—a definition that accords with the complex, multifaceted, and changing nature of Pan-Africanism itself.


Brochure cover announcing FESTAC (Lagos, 1977). PANAFEST Archive
Brochure cover announcing FESTAC (Lagos, 1977). PANAFEST Archive



Cover image: Colloquium held at the First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar, 1966). Photo courtesy Jean Mazel / PANAFEST Archive


About the authors

Dominique Malaquais is Senior Researcher at the Institut des Mondes Africains (Paris), and co-director, with Kadiatou Diallo of SPARCK (Space for Pan-African Research, Creation and Knowledge), an experimental curatorial platform based in Cape Town. She is the author of books and articles focusing on the intersections between urban cultures, contemporary art, and political violence in Central and Southern Africa, as well as of edited volumes on related subjects. Malaquais is associate editor of Chimurenga Magazine and sits on the editorial board of the journals Politique Africaine and Savvy Contemporary. After living and teaching in New York City for 16 years (Columbia and Princeton Universities, Sarah Lawrence College), she now lives in France and divides her time as researcher between Paris, Kinshasa, and Cape Town.

Cédric Vincent is an anthropologist and and an art critic. He is currently at work on a book, based on his doctoral dissertation, focusing on processes of provincialization and and de-provincialization in the making of art scenes and the production of artists at work in the second half of the 20th century and in the early years of the 21st century. He has published extensively in journals and magazines (Art Press, art21, Chimurenga Chronic, Parachute, Springerin, Sarai Reader…), as well as in exhibition catalogues (Africa Remix, Indian summer, Raqs Media Collective, Conspire!)

Together, Dominique Malaquais and Cédric Vincent direct PANAFEST Archive, a multi-disciplinary research and curatorial project centered on Pan-African festivals of the 1960s and ’70s. Their most recent endeavor in this context is an exhibition, co-curated with Sarah Frioux-Salgas at Musée du Quai Branly (Paris), titled Dakar 66: Chronicles of a Pan-African Festival (2016).




  1. This text was originally published as Volume #4 in the Non-Aligned Modernisms series, edited by Zoran Erić, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 2016. The text draws in part from an earlier, shorter piece published in The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966: Contexts and Legacies, ed. David Murphy (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016). See also Eloi Ficquet, Dominique Malaquais, Malika Rahal, and Cédric Vincent, “Panafest: Une archive en devenir,” in Archive (re)mix, eds. Maëline Le Lay, Dominique Malaquais and Nadine Siegert (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015), 209–228.
  2. Théo Robichet, Alger ’69, 1971 (16 minutes), Paul Thiltges Distributions (Luxembourg) and La Bascule (France), 2008.
  3. By far the richest such account is Andrew Apter’s brilliant treatment of FESTAC, The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria (Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 2005).
  4. Ibid., 4–5.
  5. Leon Gast, When We Were Kings, 1996 (89 minutes), Gramercy Pictures (USA). Makeba was invited to take part in FESMAN and appears on the Dakar festival’s program, but, in fact, was a no-show. Some scholars explain the absence of the star, a staunch supporter of Guinean president Ahmed Sékou Touré, by a last-minute decision on her part to boycott Senghor’s festival (See Lotte Arndt, “Decolonizaion in Adversity: Cultural Constellations through the Prism of Présence Africaine,” Qalqalah: A Reader, 2015, 32, http://betonsalon.net/PDF/Qalqalah_EN.). Makeba’s memoirs suggest otherwise, pointing instead to a scheduling conflict. See Miriam Makeba and Nomsa Mwamuka, The Miriam Makeba Story (Johannesburg: STE Publishers, 2004), 160.
  6. Though officially planned, the event never in fact materialized. Highlighting still further imbrications between the various festivals, the OAU report documenting Zaïre’s quest to hold a second PANAF in Kinshasa includes a request by Senegal that such an event should avoid anti-Negritude sentiment of the kind expressed during the 1969 festival in Algiers. See Organization of African Unity DC/CULT/20/88.71 (1 March 1971). For a discussion of Zaïre 74 as a tool deployed by Mobutu to political ends on both a local and an international scale, see Dominique Malaquais, “Rumble in Kinshasa,” in Afropolis: City, Media, Art, eds. Kerstin Pinther, Larissa Förster and Christian Hanussek (Cape Town: Jacana Media, 2012), 232241 and Afropolis: Stadt, Medien, Kunst (Cologne: Walther König, 2010), 232–241.
  7. Sol Stern, “A Short Account of International Student Politics & the Cold War with Particular Reference to the NSA, CIA, Etc.,” Ramparts, March 1967:29-39. See also Hoyt Fuller, Journey to Africa (Chicago: Third World Press, 1971) and Anthony J. Ratcliff, “When Négritude Was in Vogue: Critical Reflections of the First World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture in 1966,” The Journal of Pan-African Studies 6 No. 7 (2014): 181 and 186 n. 60.
  8. See multiple articles published in The New York Times in February and March 1967, among which: Juan de Onis, “Ramparts Says C.I.A. Received Student Report; Magazine Declares Agency Turned Group it Financed Into an ‘Arm of Policy’,” 16 February 1967; Neil Sheehan, “Aid by C.I.A. Put in the Millions; Group Total Up; A Wide Spectrum of Youth, Labor, Student and Legal Organizations Are Cited; Aid by C.I.A. is Put in the Millions as Total of Group Grows,” 19 February 1967; James Reston, “C.I.A. Aid on Campus; U.S. Efforts To Counter Influence of Communists Hurt by N.S.A. Disclosure,” 15 February 1967; Roy Creed, “Youth Council to Investigate Charges of C.I.A. Link,” 6 March 1967.
  9. AMSAC (1957–1969) was the North American branch of the Société africaine de culture, launched in 1956 by Paris-based Senegalese intellectual Alioune Diop, founder of the influential Présence africaine network, initiator of the First and Second Congress of Black Writers and Artists, and a key player in the planning, organization and rollout of FESMAN. For an analysis of AMSAC’s co-optation by the CIA, see Hugh Wilford, “The American Society of African Culture: The CIA and Transnational Networks of African Diaspora Intellectuals in the Cold War,” n.Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War: Agents, Activities, and Networks, eds. Luc Van Dongen, Stéphanie Roulin and Gilles Scott-Smith (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), 23–34.
  10. Certain leading members of AMSAC, it appears, were aware of the society’s ties with the CIA. See ibid.
  11. Harold Weaver, personal communication, November 2013. See an interview of Dr. Weaver by the authors: https://archive.org/details/PANAFESTHaroldWeaver. For an analysis of the CIA’s instrumentalization of African American artists in the context of the Cold War, see, among others: Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (New York: The New Press, 2001); Penny Von Eschen, Satchmo Blows Up The World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004); and Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008).
  12. As historian Anthony Ratcliff has shown, the North American delegation was not only supported financially, but also actively shaped—or indeed, as he suggests, altogether co-opted—by the State Department. Handpicked by a European American philanthropist, H. Alwynn Innes-Brown, seconded by the founder of AMSAC, John A. Davis and a cadre of State Department approved African American politicians and entertainers, the artists, intellectuals and performers who were invited to take part in the delegation were chosen not only for their brilliance, but also, it appears, because they were not affiliated with the Black Power movement, a powerful threat in the eyes of the Washington establishment. Key protagonists of the African American arts and intellectual scenes were systematically cast aside, effectively silencing some of the country’s most forward-thinking cultural actors. In the end, writes Radcliff, “(n)one of the official events sanctioned by … the North American Committee featured performances or voices of artists affiliated with the New Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, or Black Arts movements”—women and men unlikely to fall in line behind the government’s effort to present a picture of the US as a haven of racial integration. See Anthony J. Radcliff, op. cit., 174-175.
  13. Irina Venzher and Leonid Makhnatch, Rhythms of Africa, 1966 (52 minutes), Central State Studio of the Order of the Red Flag (USSR).
  14. Founded in 1953 by president Dwight Eisenhower, USIA, a government agency devoted to public diplomacy, played a key role in the vast program set afoot by Washington to promote the interests of the United States abroad in the context of the Cold War.
  15. William Greaves, First World Festival of Negro Arts, 1968 (40 minutes), William Greaves Productions (USA). Greaves’ film became one of the most popular USIA films to be shown on the African continent in the 1960s and ‘70s. While at first glance this might suggest an unmitigated success for USIA, in fact matters are more complex. The film was also a victory for Greaves himself and for African American cinema more broadly. The commission was for a short documentary. Instead, Greaves turned in a feature-length, deeply poetic and emotional film that allowed him, he would later state, to tell a story he would otherwise not have had the means to put out into the world. “You have to realize,” he explained, “that the reason I went into motion pictures was to make films like the First World Festival of Negro Arts. It was the first opportunity I had to make films that expressed a black perspective on reality. Until then I had not had access to financing which would permit that” (Adam Knee and Charles Musser, “William Greaves: Documentary Filmmaking and the African-American Experience,” Film Quarterly 45,No. 3, (1992):13-25, http://www.williamgreaves.com/filmquarterly.htm).
  16. This reading of the relationship between the Dakar and Algiers festivals initially served as a template for the authors as well.
  17. Members of the PANAFEST Archive team are researchers at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and the University of Stirling. Key phases of the PANAFEST Archive project have been made possible through generous funding from Fondation de France and Université Paris 1-Sorbonne.
  18. The change in location may have been related to the implosion of the Mali Federation in August 1960.
  19. See Jody Blake, “Cold War Diplomacy and Civil Rights Activism,” in Romare Bearden, American Modernist,eds. Ruth Fine and Jacqueline Francis (Washington and New Haven: National Gallery of Art and Yale University Press, 2011), 43–58.
  20. Abbia, Special issue titled “Festival mondial des arts nègres,” 1966, 12–13.
  21. Archie Shepp, Jasmina, A Black Woman, 1969, BYG Actuel (France).
  22. Clifford Thornton, Ketchaoua, 1969, BYG Actuel (France).
  23. William Klein, Festival Panafricain d’Alger, 1970 (90 minutes), Office national pour le commerce et l’industrie cinématographique (O.N.I.C.) – Centre national de la cinématographie et de l’audiovisuel (CNCA) (Algeria) and 2010, ARTE (France).
  24. See interviews of Shepp and Robichet by members of the PANAFEST team: https://archive.org/details/PANAFESTArchieShepp
  25. These opponents to Senghor led the Senegalese delegation in attendance at the Algiers festival. On this subject, see notably Ola Balogun, Honorat Aguessy and Pathé Diagne, Introduction à la culture africaine, Paris: 10/18-UNESCO, 1977 (section by Pathé Diagne). See also Apter, op. cit.,. 65-67. On Soyinka, see, notably, Sylvester Ogbechie, “Compagnons d’armes : l’avant-garde africaine au Premier festival mondial des arts nègres de Dakar en 1966,” Africultures 73 (2008) :35-42.
  26. See Cornelis Nlandu-Tsasa, La rumeur au Zaïre de Mobutu : radio-trottoir à Kinshasa (Paris : L’Harmattan, 1997).
  27. In Trevor Schoonmaker, ed., Fela: From West Africa to Broadway (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003), see the following: John Collins, “Fela and the Black President Film: A Diary,”. 69-70, 73; Dele Jegede, “Dis Fela Sef! Fela in Lagos,” . 86; Vivien Goldman, “Thinking Africa: Afrobeat Aesthetic and the Dancing Queens,” 107; Mabinuori Kayode Idowu, “African Who Sang and Saw Tomorrow,” 16-19; and Trevor Schoonmaker, “Introduction,” 3. See also Brent Hayes Edwards, “Crossroads Republic”: Transition 97 (2007):94-119.
  28. Needless to say, such reflection relates intimately to writings on the nature of archives as historically and culturally constituted artifacts and, thereby, as loci for the (re)production of power.

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