“Africa is the last frontier for enterprise," said Haskell Ward, SVP for government relations at Black Rhino Group, during the first of eight fall pre-events for Africa Atlanta 2014.
Nearly 80 people attended the dialogue with Ward entitled, Reflections on Africa: Then and Now. Interviewed by his wife, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears (retired, Georgia Supreme Court), Ward used anecdotes and insights from his fifty years of Africa-related work in policy, relations, and enterprise to convey past mistakes and future opportunity in Africa.
"The rest of the world is quite happy that the U.S. is not engaged in Africa because they don’t have to compete with us there,” said Ward. He called for change in the U.S. model for interaction with Africa which "is based upon a premise that we know better than they." "Listen, rather than lecture," said Ward. Another insight was that, despite the vastness and diversity of Africa, a commonality among its people is the "huge premium placed on personal interaction. It's a fundamental behavior."
The array of fall activities have included the Atlanta premiere of a penetrating film biography of the award-winning author (The Color Purple) and activist, Alice Walker, and a conversation with Walker and the filmmaker; the theatrical production of Mother to Mother, an intensely moving, one-woman play by author Sindiwe Magona; screenings of film clips by Chadian film maker Mahamat-Seleh Haroun (Bye By Africa, A Screaming Man) who was interviewed by IAC film scholar Angela Dalle Vacche; a dialogue with award-winning journalist and Civil Right icon Charlayne Hunter-Gault with tastings from her South African vineyard; and the Georgia Tech Africa Student Union’s Taste of Africa.
December 14, 2013—March 9, 2014—Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey (Arts & Culture). Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden's Odyssey series creates an artistic bridge between classical mythology and African American culture. Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University.
Grand Opening of Africa Atlanta 2014 and "Mapping Place: Africa Beyond Paper," February 13 (Arts & Culture)—Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, Georgia Tech. This exhibition explores how the changing representation and projection of space has shaped our approach to Africa. The exhibition also asks what we learn when we place African artifacts in the cultural space from which they come, rather than simply relocating them in the aestheticized space of museums. The exhibition runs through May 16.
Visit www.africaatlanta.org to learn more about this citywide year-long series of events highlighting Atlanta as a nexus for reinventing the cultural and economic bonds among Africa, Europe, and the Americas.