1000 Balloons Against Discrimination

1000 Balloons Against Discrimination

1000 Balloons against discrimination 2007

1000 Balloons against discrimination 2007

It is a general believe that through understanding and tolerance of each other’s culture, we could make the world a better place for everyone. Team members of the Afro Project organization have been actively involved in bringing African culture into the German environment. The Afro Project team organizes a yearly Africa festival in Wuerzburg , Germany that attracts thousands of people. This year, over 80,000 people from different nations visited the festival. 

The 19th Africa Festival in Wuerzburg started on the 25th May 2007 with a colourful parade of Brazilian samba dancers. The rhythmic sounds of the samba drums sent the joyful message of festivity to the surrounding area luring more visitors to participate in the festival. The parade denotes the aim of the festival to illustrate the connection between Africa and Brazil in the context of Black Atlantic. Meanwhile august guests from German ministries and African Institutions as well as celebrities from the music world were arriving to take part in the grand opening ceremony.

At the opening ceremony, the Africa Festival Awards 2007 was presented to Ade (Bantu) Odukoya for his relentless efforts in the fight against discrimination and racism. As part of the opening ceremony, 1000 white and black balloons were released to symbolise “fight against discrimination”. The festival continued till the 28th of May with diverse music artists from Brazil and Africa performing to the satisfaction of the audience. The program of the festival also included film shows, discussion panels, clowns and acrobats performances. The markets offered African artefacts, music instruments, CDs, DVDs and a variety of African and Brazilian cuisine to the delight of the visitors. Experienced DJs kept the dance floors of the discos filled all evenings and till the early mornings in the Havana Club.

Fight against Discrimination and Racism: Different Colours-One People 

Racism in Germany is undeniable. Racist attacks happen daily in different forms both physically and verbally. Foreigners particularly people of African descend are abused by racists openly in public places. Africans have been killed on German streets by German racists. In most cases, witnesses have kept quiet and never attempted to help the victim or call for help. The 19th Africa Festival Wuerzburg made a remarkable effort to bring the issue of racism to the limelight and motivate the public to actively participate in the fight against racism. As part of the opening ceremony, 1000 balloons, each attached to a free entry ticket to the festival were released to float. The tickets carry information about the event and urge the finder to stand against racism. The finder is also cordially invited to attend the festival and enjoy a series of cultural attractions. The event marked the first day of the festival as a day against racism.

A discussion forum was organized with Afro-Germans including the activist and music artist Ade (Bantu) Odukoya on the panel. The discussion topic titled “Foreigners at home – Life as an Afro-German” gave an insight into the feelings of Afro-Germans in relation to their dual cultural heritage.

Africa Festival Awards 2007

Ade (Bantu) Odukoya is the recipient of the Africa Festival (Wuerzburg) Award 2007. The award was presented to Ade by Dr. Stefan Oschmann in recognition of his activities against racism in Germany . Dr. Oschmann, the leading founding member of the Africa festival, praised Ade for initiating “Brothers Keepers”, an organization focused on the fight against discrimination and racism. In his speech, Ade thanked the organizers of the Africa Festival and urged the public to actively participate in the fight against all forms of racial descrimination.

Ade (Bantu) Odukoya

Ade (Bantu) Odukoya

The Millennium Goals of the United Nations: 2000-2015 – Already Failed at Halftime in Africa?”

The Millennium Development Goals were initiated by the UN and adopted in 2000 by the largest gathering of world leaders in history. The aim of the initiative was to implement a blueprint set to reduce extreme poverty around the world by 50% before the end of 2015. The Millennium Development Goals agreed upon by world leaders include:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

In a report “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals” by a task force of the UN Millennium Project, Africa was identified as the continent with the greatest need of MDG investments due to the following reasons:

  • Very high transport costs and small markets
  • Low-productivity agriculture
  • Very high disease burden
  • Ahistory of adverse geopolitics
  • Very slow diffusions of technology from abroad

Under the topic “The Millennium Goals of the United Nations: 2000-2015 – Already Failed at Halftime in Africa ?” a discussion panel at the Africa festival Wuerzburg presented views and opinions on the present economic situation of Africa as well as the development aids politic. There was a heated debate on the issue of financial aid and the concept of the up-coming G8-conference taking place at Heiligendamm , Germany (6-8 June 2007). While a member of the panel would like to stop every form of financial aid for Africa, another finds financial aid necessary but economic partnership even more appropriate in supporting development efforts in African countries. A member of the audience pointed out that the activities of the Chinese in Africa should be monitored carefully. According to the speaker, the Chinese could become the new colonial masters.

Africa 2007


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