Africa Utopia is an annual festival celebrating the arts and culture of one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-changing continents. Championed by Senegalese singer and human rights advocate Baaba Maal, the annual programme features a range of talks, workshops, music, performances, fashion and food.
Headlining the festival in 2018 are husband and wife musical duo, Amadou & Mariam, who play from their latest album, La Confusion, and Chineke! Orchestra who present an exhilarating, jazz-infused programme. Main image: Amadou & Mariam courtesy of Southbank Centre.
Thursday 19 July 2018
MUSIC | LITERATURE | Africa Utopia: R.A.P Party
Thurs 19 July, 19:30 – 22:00, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room, Ticketed (£10)
In this special Africa Utopia edition of Inua Ellams’ Rhythm And Poetry Party, a group of ten Pan-African poets will read works inspired by hip-hop culture and contemporary life, alongside DJs playing some of their favourite hip-hop and Afrobeat tunes. The poets include Victoria Adukwei Bulley, JJ Bola, Salma El-Wardany, Kayo Chingonyi, Sumia Jaama, Joshua Idehen, Wana Udobang, Alim Kamara, Theresa Lola and Inua Ellams, alongside hip-hop and Afrobeat tunes from DJ Sid Mercutio.
Friday 20 July 2018
FREE | MUSIC | Friday Tonic – Kasai Masai,
Fri 20 July, 17.30, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall Outdoor Stage, Free
Congolese band Kasai Masai will play original compositions which exceed traditional expectations of Congolese music. They are first-class exponents of the fast-paced Soukous and Congolese rumba. With galloping rhythms, strong melodies, passionate beats and swinging guitars, the group isn’t known for doing things by halves. In this free gig as part of Southbank Centre’s Friday Tonic series, Kasai Masai will perform a blend of rural and urban African beats on the outdoor stage.
FILM | UK Premiere of Hello, Rain
Fri 20 July, 19:45, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room, Ticketed (£15)
Southbank Centre is proud to present the UK premiere of CJ Obasi’s Afro-futuristic screen adaptation of the award-winning short story Hello, Moto by Nnedi Okorafor. The story follows a scientist-witch who, through an alchemical combination of juju and technology, creates wigs which grant her and her friends supernatural powers. The screening will be followed by an exclusive live Q+A with the Nigerian director, CJ Obasi.
THEATRE | WOKE by Apphia Campbell
Fri 20 – Sat 21 July, 20.00-21.00, Blue Room, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Ticketed (£15)
Apphia Campbell presents WOKE, an award-winning one-woman theatrical performance following two women’s fight for civil rights. Set against a powerful live soundtrack of original music, the protagonists, set 42 years apart, challenge the American justice system, become criminalised through political activism and, ultimately, face the choice to fight or flee.
MUSIC | Amadou & Mariam
Sat 21 July, 19.30, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Ticketed (£27, £22)
With the release of their eighth international album, La Confusion, two of Africa’s most popular artists return to Southbank Centre as musical ambassadors for their continent and their country, Mali. The duo have previously appeared on the Main Stage at Glastonbury, crisscrossed America, toured with Coldplay and U2, performed at a Nobel Peace Prize concert in honour of Barack Obama and played at the opening ceremonies of the last two FIFA world cups. For the full list of events click here.