By Lucy Ilado
Worldwide Afro Network (WAN) is hosting a virtual music event to create awareness and foster solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, titled #IAmWAN, will be held on 25 May to commemorate Africa Day.
The event will feature a colossal line-up of more than 100 acts and broadcast for free in prime time on various African national channels and a number private channels, with the technical support of the African Union (AU) of Broadcasting, Thomson Broadcast (France) and Radio Afrika (Mali).
Some of the confirmed acts include Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara, Salif Keita and Oumou Sangaré. They will be joined by Dobet Gnahore, Meiway, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Asalfo from Ivory Coast as well as Youssou N’dour, Baaba Maal and Coumba Gawlo from Senegal.
Talented Burundian musicians Khadja Nin, Yvan Buravan and Christelle Kabagire are also on the bill. Eddy Kenzo and Bobi Wine will represent Uganda while Nigeria will be represented by superstars Wizkid and Burna Boy.
Others include Rex Omar (Ghana), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Sam Fan Thomas (Cameroon), and DRC artists Lokua Kanza, Fally Ipupa and Hiro. There will also be performances by artists from Guinea, Gabon, France, Brazil, Togo, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Madagascar.
The event will also see thought leaders and innovators from Africa and the diaspora engage in an inclusive discussion on social media.
WAN is the brainchild of Camroonian journalist and producer Amobé Mévégué, tech entrepreneur Haweya Mohamed, and musicians Youssou N’dour and Khadja Nin.
Mévégué told Music In Africa that the event would seek to raise awareness about the risks of COVID-19 and to engage in a collective reflection on post-crisis Africa.
“I thought to myself that before anyone came up with any initiative, we as Africans should put our heads together and do something,” he said. “So I called Youssou N’dour, Salif Keita and artists in the Caribbean and Jamaican community to create content for our people and spread messages of hope and solidarity during these troubled times.
“I also spoke to the AU and they have endorsed us and promised to take the content and broadcast it for free on public and private TV channels on the continent. With the online discussion, we want people to think about how to reshape Africa and about the new Africa behind this pandemic. What about health, education, governance and job creation?”