On June 21st I was back in Bonn for Deutsche Welle’s annual Global Media Forum and proud to host yet another exciting panel for DW Culture. This year we invited artists from Africa and the African diaspora to talk about the power of culture and the arts to transform societies. I was joined by the intrepid Nigerian director Ike Nnaebue, South Sudanese writer and activist Stella Gaitano, Cameroonian-born photo artist Angèle Etoundi Essamba and the wonderful Akinbode Akinbiyi, a British-Nigerian photographer and self-proclaimed wanderer of the world.

Ugandan singer and politician Bobi Wine

But the definite star of the show was Ugandan singer and politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known by his stage name Bobi Wine, who brought the house down with his live performances and unbridled charisma. Thanks to all for great insights into Africa’s booming and innovative creative scene and the many challenges artists may face, from lack of funding and critical infrastructure to conflict and hostile political regimes. And on the question of how to empower Africa’s young generations to dream and thrive in their own countries, the take-home message was this: culture can and IS providing some solutions, through books, films, art, photography, fashion and music that travel the world, our cue to keep reading, watching and listening.

With Akinbode Akinbiyi, Bobi Wine, Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Stella Gaitano and Ike Nnaebue

Photos: © DW / Björn Kietzmann