By Omiko Awa
The 2021 Africa Soft Power (ASP) Series launched last week with Ambassador Rama Yade (Director, Atlantic Council’s Africa Centre and former French Minister of State for Human Rights), Mona Eltahawy (award-winning journalist, author and commentator) among others opening the floor with their speeches will continue this week, from Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15, with nine powerful sessions.
According to organisers, Tuesday will feature the multi-award-winning celebrity chef, author and founder, The Siba Co, Siba Mtongana; founder and CEO, TenToOne Rum, Marc Kwesi Farell, and others on the ‘Stirring The Pot: The Globalisation of African Cuisine And The Stories Within The Flavours’, while the award-winning, founder and Group CEO, Brand Leadership Group, Thebe Ikalafeng and the Executive Director, Africa No Filter Moky Makura, and Wikimedia Foundation’s Khanyi Mpumlwana will join a separate panel to present positive African narratives, moderated by Rachel Hislop; Editor-in-Chief, Okayplayer and OkayAfrica.x
Wednesday will see Susan Chapman-Hughes (Ex EVP, AMEX), Tenu Awoonor of Blu Penguin, and thought leaders from PayPal, MTN, FSDH Holdings, Lori and Nairametrics speak on the intersections between finance, technology and creativity.
Thursday promises to feature Nontando Mposo, Editor-In-Chief, Glamour, Africa’s leading women magazine, and Leyla Hussein, social activist and co-founder, Safe Spaces for Black Women on the business of beauty.
While on Friday, Victor Williams, CEO, NBA Africa; Goabaone Taylor, CEO, Botswana Football Association; Tunde Folawiyo, CEO, Yinka Folawiyo Group and influencers from ESPN and the BBC, and SuperSports, former NFL and NBA players will talk on sports.
The last day, Saturday, the focus will be on the music industry with a snazzy session on ‘Black is King: Of Culture And Rhythm’.
With the series already receiving commendations from stakeholders in the industry, organisers say the sessions will be engaging, insightful and impactful.
According to Makura: “We need to have these important conversations about the things that underpin the things that matter. ASP series is doing an excellent job curating conversations about cultural influence in Africa.”
For Susan Chapman-Hughes, ASP is the building connections between Africa and the global black community, which is critical for the diaspora to be on the cutting edge of digital transformation and also to ensure competitiveness and connection for generations to come.
Commending the platform for promoting Africa brands and the creative industry, Yofi Grant, said: “the ASP Project has optimally created the platform for thought-provoking and insightful conversations aimed at transforming the African creative industry spanning music, art, film and fashion industries.
She noted that music, art, film, fashion, and all other genre of creative expression have one thing in common — the ability to effectively connect and involve people through narrative — and the African continent is no stranger to this phenomenon.