Laudation for the winner of
Dear Secretary of State, Excellencies and dear guests,
it has become a great tradition to give away the festival award during the opening ceremony of the Africa Festival. In 2001 the Senegalese group Daara J received the first Festival Award ever. By now several musicians like Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Lokua Kanza and Angelique Kidjo, just to name a few, have been honoured with our award. Moreover, institutions like the South African Anti – Aids- Initiative “Steps for the Future” and the Tuareg organisation Efes, who have hosted the extraordinary Festival au Desert in the desert of Mali, have received this award.
I am pleased to introduce you to our two newest honourees to mark the 20 years anniversary of the Africa Festival. The first one to be named has been working with us for the first time this year. His pictures made and shaped African history. Over 50 years ago a young photographer travelled to South Africa, which was at this point completely unknown to him. There he was able to keep records of the development of apartheid in the 50ies with his striking pictures and there fore, as it was recently precisely said, he gave apartheid faces and names.
Furthermore, he has captured some very expressive photos showing the music and musicians of South Africa, which is currently part of our Kulturspeicher exhibition. Through the quality of his pictures he has become an important mediator between the black and the white population of South Africa.
Congratulations to Jürgen Schadeberg!
The second Festival Award is a sign of thankfulness as well. The fact, that the Africa Festival is taking place in Würzburg is, as we all know it, a fortunate coincidence. We just happen to be at home here.
Maybe the one or the other scrutinized us a bit sceptical at the early beginnings of the festival.
When we started, 20 years ago, to provide the music and culture of Africa a base in Würzburg it appeared rather exotic. Luckily, though, the persons in charge at the municipality were willing to support our intentions. At the beginning these were the, at the time, cultural affairs officer Dr. Voll and director of the office for cultural affairs Gabriel Engert. Also, all the following officers and lord mayors, not to mention the city council never left us out in the rain. That the city of Würzburg even supported us when they were in a tight financial spot, is something we really have to give them credit for. We really appreciate your support. Please remain loyal with us for the future!
As a token of our gratitude for our 20 years on – going cooperation, I would like to present the Festival Award 2008 to the Lord Mayor of Würzburg Georg Rosenthal.