The second Panafrican festival starts this Sunday in Algiers. I will be posting more about this event in the coming days, but you can read about it here. It is hard to believe that this edition comes 40 years after the first one, and it will be interesting to find out how the two events compare. Back in 1969, Algeria and most countries in Africa were still celebrating their newly recovered independence. Other countries such as South Africa, Mozambique or Angola were engaged in a struggle that had become a rallying cause throughout the continent and beyond. The mood of the era was infused with a militant Third-world spirit that contributed to the success of the festival. All those who had the privilege of being there remember an intense feeling of communion while listening and watching all these artists, poets, musicians, singers, and writers. It felt good to be African that summer. Unfortunately, very little is available today about that event. Here is a couple of videos of the Syli Orchestre National of Guinea during the festival
There is also a famous recording of Archie Shepp made during the festival.
In parallel to the cultural activities, the 1969 festival was also an opportunity for many revolutionary groups to meet. All the African and third-world liberation movements of the period had representatives in Algiers at that time. Also present were members of the American Black Panthers whose leader, Eldridge Cleaver, was living in exile in Algeria. On the occasion of the festival, the Algerian government sponsored a movie by William Klein devoted to Eldridge Cleaver. The movie was never released commercially, it seems, but it can be watched here: