IOM - As part of its effort to promote social cohesion in the Central African Republic (CAR), IOM’s Community Stabilization project supported the “Compagnie Artistique Assoungba Système” to organize a “mega-concert” including traditional dancers, comedians, and musicians in Bangui’s fifth district.
Between 500 and 700 people attended the “mega-concert” on August 30, held at a local community centre known as “CPJ”. IOM provided technical support with funding from the European Union.
Six groups performed, including Central African comedian Dr. Mandjeke and the Zeke ti be Africa dance group, among the most renowned performers in the country. Also, children aged 8-12 from the fifth district performed a song promoting peace that they had written in an artistic workshop funded by IOM’s Community Stabilization project.
The “mega-concert” was advertised through posters along the roads of the fifth district. Community mobilizers also drove through local neighbourhoods promoting the event with megaphones. According to organizers, the objective of the “mega-concert” was to promote peace and social cohesion among the population of the fifth district. The message offered by theatre sketches was that everyone is equal no matter the differences in their appearances.
Prudence, a resident of Miskine in the fifth district, learned of the concert through promotions in her neighbourhood. The community mobilizers said: “Today we are going to assemble to show that we want peace.”
Prudence added: “I came to the concert today because I want peace in my country. There are people here today from all different neighbourhoods, including PK12. Even people who are not attending are passing by and are hearing the messages of the event.”
The “mega-concert” is one of a series of events that IOM’s EU-funded Community Stabilization Unit is running in the third and fifth districts to encourage residents to come together as a community and offer a space for social interaction and dialogue. IOM works directly with grassroots organizations who decide on community initiatives and submit proposals for funding.
“This is a very difficult moment in CAR. Artists must use their voices to show people that we should have peace,” said Eric Makanda, a comedian and general secretary of the Fédération Centrafricaine de Thêatre. “We are the voice of the population and they listen to us. By organizing this concert, we aim to sensitize the population and promote social cohesion. Our art is our weapon.”
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