Africa Utopia 2018 at The South Bank Centre

The Southbank Centre has announced the programme for Africa Utopia 2018, featuring four days of music, comedy, film, theatre, dance, literature, fashion, workshops, market stalls, talks, debates and free activity celebrating Africa and its diaspora across its 17-acre site from July 19-22.

Malian afropop duo Amadou & Mariam

Showcasing an exciting line-up of musicians, writers, comedians, filmmakers, performers and artists from the African continent and its diaspora, this annual festival, now in in its sixth year, celebrates and explores Africa’s influence in shaping the way we think about art, culture, gender, race, sexuality, fashion, activism and society.

As discussion over Europe’s future is ongoing, and national borders continue to be negotiated, this year’s talks and debates programme focuses on the “Pan-African” ideological movement, its history and future, and whether a United States of Africa is likely to ever be a reality.

Festival Highlights include:

  • Multi-award-winning Malian Afropop duo Amadou & Mariam returning to the Royal Festival Hall with their eighth international album, La Confusion on July 21.
  • Chineke! Orchestra, Europe’s only professional majority-BME orchestra, and conductor Wayne Marshall performing the world premiere of a new piece by Julian Joseph in a jazz-infused concert, joined by pianist Stewart Goodyear, who makes his Queen Elizabeth Hall debut on July 21.
  • UK premiere screening of Hello, Rain, based on Nnedi Okorafor’s critically-acclaimed short story Hello, Moto and followed by an exclusive live Q+A with its award-winning Nigerian director CJ Obasi on July 20.
  • Award-winning playwright, poet and writer of The Barbershop Chronicles Inua Ellams’  (pictured above) RAP Party – an evening of poetry, spoken word and music from 10 pan-African poets – 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 on July 19.
  • ITV Britain’s Got Talent finalist and BBC Radio 4 comedian Daliso Chaponda returning to Africa Utopia with his Presidents of Laughrica comedy showcase, hosted by MC Annette Fagon and featuring Junior Simpson on July 21.
  • Two performances of Apphia Campbell’s Scotsman Fringe First award-winning one-woman show WOKE which follows the lives of two women, 42 years apart, who become involved in the struggle for civil rights on July 21 and 22.

A broad range of music, literature and dance workshops offering tips on everything from learning Swahili and Pidgin through song to writing Afro futuristic science fiction on July 21 and 22.

Africa Utopia 2018 will include the UK premiere screening of Hello, Rain,

Debo Amon, Programmer for Africa Utopia 2018, said: “We are excited to present our sixth Africa Utopia festival which offers our most audacious programme to date.

“With the fracturing of international alliances, the rise of nationalism and the entrenchment of borders, global narratives are shifting and we wonder: does a new Pan-African movement have anything to offer as an alternative model?

“Through music and performance, literature and debate, we bring together an array of amazing artists, writers and activists from the continent and its diaspora to explore this idea and others, celebrate Africa’s rich cultural contribution to the world, and consider how we can work together to help shape a better future.”

For further information or to buy tickets see

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