The cultural and creative industry was a mainstay of sustainable growth in sub-Saharan Africa and an enduring item on the development agenda until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This vast sector encompasses physical, digital and intangible activities, ranging from art and photography, film and festivals, to innovative efforts to protect nature and the environment and such creative fields as advertising, big data, app design, innovative logistics and robotics. This whole sector and its actors were hard hit by the pandemic, but some creative entrepreneurs managed to see the crisis as an opportunity. Some creative companies, each in their own way, have helped to overcome the privations of lockdown, isolation and immobility, setting a remarkably innovative dynamic in motion. Their products have reached many people and reflect the added value of creative work for wider social questions.
The Komesho Gathering in the heart of Namibia brings together such creative entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa. In the Oshikwanyama language, Komesho means the future or “what lies ahead”. The participants will show how their ideas and products helped alleviate the crisis and intervened where governments and international aid agencies were unable to help. Networks emerging out of the Komesho Gathering will also discuss ways of collectively constructing the “next normal” – a designable future, rather than accepting a version of the “new normal” imposed by those in power.
The four-day gathering from 8th to 11th October 2021 in the secluded Namibian highlands will be all about sharing experiences and ideas as well as developing common values and visions for the post-pandemic era. The programme includes events with guests from political, research and business communities, master classes with prominent guests for early stage start-ups and an informal campfire conversation with art and music. Some of the events will be live streamed for a greater public. A short documentary will capture the Komesho Gathering, which will present the individual participants and the overall concept.