The African Circus Arts Festival, organized by Fekat Circus, a social circus established in Ethiopia since 2004, will be open to everyone with a free entrance. The event will take place at the newly opened Oromiya Cultural Center in Addis Abeba, from November 27 to December 2, 2015.
Eight of the most active circus teams from Africa will participate in the Festival. Eighty-five circus artists from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South-Africa and Zambia will have the unique opportunity to exhibit their talent in their own continent. Organizers say despite its social, cultural and economic potential, circus is still poorly recognized in Africa: there are no structures and few job opportunities for this discipline, which is often categorized as a sport. Yet circus is a multidisciplinary art form that creatively combines music, dance, singing, fashion and design. With circus, all these art forms mingle together. “By providing an exceptional spotlight on the artists, the Festival attempts to increase the visibility of the participating teams and stimulate the development of a circus market in the region. Indeed, it is time for African circuses and artists to believe that it is possible to work in Africa”.
Most of the Festival’s artists are youngsters coming from challenging backgrounds. Circus has given them a way to gain their self-esteem, self-discipline, and be full-fledged citizens of their communities. On stage, they will display their aptitude to create a new African circus culture by fusing their artistic and cultural heritage with contemporary circus.
The event will also spread a message of peace and cultural cooperation, which will contrast with the existing tensions in several African countries. Indeed the Festival is an experience of collective action among young African artists. Speaking different languages, adhering to different religions and believes and living in different political environments; the artists will come together and stage their shows as part of a collective event. This will stimulate a sense of unity and solidarity among the participants and the audience.
The Festival is sponsored by several organizations such as the UNESCO, the Prince Claus Foundation, the Foundation Alta Mane, the European Union and the French Embassy in Addis Abeba.