Ivory Coast resumes a cultural life

August 2003 -

Even though after ten months of war the Ivory Coast has its hands full disarming the combatants, the country’s cultural life is beginning to bounce back. A festival that was postponed due to the war will now take place and different cultural contests have been organised. War, peace and reconciliation are the themes.

Children between the ages of 8 and 15 can participate in a theatre competition during the coming months. The plays will deal with the war as seen through the eyes of children. Six groups will be selected for the finale on 19 September, the date on which the war began last year.

Musicians can compete for the La Patrie d'Or prize that will be awarded on 1 August during a gala in the Palais de la Culture. Compositions that were published during the war and called for unity and reconciliation can be submitted between 1 to 10 July.
The Word and Book Association (Association Parole et Livre) (ALP) also began a competition on 8 July with a special objective.

Young writers were invited to put their thoughts about the crisis and the restoration of peace on paper. The ALP hopes that books about the war will ensure that people do not forget what has happened. Ten stories will be selected and published as a collection. The writer of the best story will win a computer, the second and third prizes are cash prizes.

The sixth MASA festival (Market of arts and of the African spectacle)(Marché des arts et du spectacle Africains), that had to be postponed due to the war, will take place during the first week of September. This festival, which is held every two years, functions as a market where artists, producers and distributors can meet one another. One important objective is to promote the international publication of music, dance and theatre productions.

The minister of culture, Anne Messou. has assured people that the festival will be both peaceful and safe. "We want to celebrate peace during this festival. Peace and culture are connected. MASA 2003 has a special meaning, because it will be the crown of all the work that has been done to realise peace in this country."