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Africa Blog

Arts & Culture

We’re celebrating Africa Day and enjoying the power of African culture and music

Today we come together to celebrate Africa Day - the annual commemoration of the African Union - by inviting you to experience the power of African culture and music with YouTube Music and Google Arts & Culture. Through an array of virtual festivities, people across the continent and the diaspora are celebrating unity through our shared history and culture. We live in unprecedented times, and the past year has proven how online gatherings, music and culture can help us connect with loved ones and inspire people across borders.

Continue celebrating Africa Day with Google Arts & Culture and learn more about the continent's rich cultural heritage. Here are 12 ways to get you started:

1. Celebrate the best of African Music with YouTubeTonight at 7PM CAT, we invite you to join our 2nd ‘Africa Day Concert’ in collaboration with MTV Base Africa and Idris Elba, who is also hosting the concert. It is a musical homage to Africa and the next global wave of artists and will stream globally exclusively on MTV Base Africa YouTube channel and broadcast across Africa on MTV Base (DStv Channel). Africa’s most celebrated superstars will introduce the next global wave of talent at this year’s event. This includes the iconic and legendary musician Angelique Kidjo, Congolese singer-songwriter Fally Ipupa and the legendary internationally renowned South African artist Yvonne Chaka Chaka amongst others. The concert will also shine a spotlight on some of the most dynamic emerging artists from all over Africa. This includes Rozzy Sokota (Sierra Leone), Ary (Angola) and Mohamed Ramadan (Egypt). As if that’s not enough, a jammed packed line-up of African and global superstars including Amina (Kenya), Azawi (Uganda), Blxckie (South Africa), Boris Kodjoe (USA), Ckay (Nigeria), Cleo Ice Queen (Zambia) Dr Bone (South Africa), Drizilik (Sierra Leone), Ehiz ( Nigeria), Emtee (South Africa), Fik Fameica (Uganda), Innoss’B (DRC), Jay Rox (Zambia), Kamo Mphela (South Africa), Lady Kuda (Zimbabwe), Locnville (South Africa), Mark Angel (Nigeria), Mr P (Nigeria), Ms Red (Zimbabwe), Nadia Mukami (Kenya), Nomalanga Shozi (South Africa), Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Shirazee (Benin), Slapdee (Zambia), Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde), Tendai “The Beast'' Mtawarira (South Africa), Tresor (South Africa), Wema (Tanzania), Will Packer (USA) and William last KRM (Botswana).

This is a video promo for the Africa Day concert hosted by movie superstar, Idris Elba

If you're up for extending the party after the concert, we invite you to listen to the YouTube Music Playlist and get to know Africa’s next wave of talent making their mark on the global stage.

This is a Gif showing a YouTube music playlist called Africa's Next Wave

2. Step inside Africa’s cultural institutions and explore their collectionsThere are thousands of iconic museums, galleries, and cultural sites in Africa, including Kenya's African Heritage House. Virtually visit 32 cultural institutions across the continent and read over 300 expert-curated stories on art, identity, music, fashion, food and more.

This is a photo of the Exterior of the African Heritage House in Kenya

3. Be inspired by Africa's trailblazing women
Let the voices of women from the past and present inspire you. Meet a courageous freedom fighter, let Mama Nike ignite your creativity, learn about activist Winnie Mandela's bravery, take in the remarkable story of Queen Tiye and score a goal with a strong women's football team.

This is a photo of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

4. Which Kenyan superhero are you? Step back in time with 61 Kenyan heroes and discover how they fought for their communities’ land, freedom and spiritual well-being. Take the quiz to find out who your super alter-ego would be. 
Drawing on Afrofuturism, be inspired by artists from the diaspora and Osborne Macharia to create your own Afrofuturist world. Release your inner superpowers and let your imagination be your guide. 

This is a visual of the Superheroes of Kenya project which tells the stories of 61 Kenyan heroes who fought for their people

5. Feel the buzz of Africa's most populous city Step inside Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, with Èkó for Show, and let over 100 creatives inspire you. Start singing Afrobeat tunes with Reekado Banks, paint the lagoon with Victor Ehikamenor, meet the stars of Nollywood with Iké Udé and let Davido inspire your taste buds. 
Continue your journey to South Africa and feel the urban vibe with musicians Busiswa and Muzi. Let them take you on a personal city tour and learn how Durban and Johannesburg have impacted their lives.  

This is a visual collage of the 'Eko for Show' project which tell the story of Lagos from the viewpoint of it's creatives

6. Place an African masterpiece in your home Search for your favorite African artist and click on the Art Projector feature to display their artwork in front of you. Start with paintings by Ali Omar Ermes, Ben Enwonwu, Mohammed Khadda, Nja Mahdaoui, Wangechi Mutu, William Kentridge and Wosene Worke Kosrof. 
Discover more about contemporary African art and its artists by visiting Jean Pigozzi’s Pocket Gallery in augmented reality. Can you spot the paintings by artist Chéri Samba and Esther Mahlangu

This is a photo of the augmented reality collection called The Pigozzi Collection

7. Feel the power of African literature Let poet Siphokazi Jonas' love letter to her home country inspire you, and learn more about what identity means to author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Celebrate Africa’s greatest stories by joining the #AfricaReads challenge with YouTube. Share a video of you reading a book by your favourite African author or watch how people across the continent came together to read Lọlá Shónẹ́yìn's novel 'The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.' 

This is a poetry video for the poem; A place of many names by Siphokazi Jonas

8. Crack the hieroglyphic code Still curious about words and languages? We challenge you to crack the hieroglyphic code from Ancient Egypt with the AI-powered tool Fabricius. You can also use emojis to create secret codes with friends. 

This is a photo of Fabricius, a Lab Experiment from Google Arts & Culture, which uses machine learning to help experts decode the stories of ancient Egypt.

9. Go on a wildlife adventure Africa is home to some of the world's most extraordinary wildlife and nature. Learn more about the importance of conservation with the last male northern white rhino or join a virtual game to meet Africa's big five: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. 
Continue your adventure by taking in the beauty and majesty of Africa from the top. Virtually climb the Great Pyramid of Giza or learn more about Africa's spectacular mountains, including the Kilimanjaro, Mount Patti and the Table Mountain. 

This is a photo of an elephant at the Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa

10. Join the movement to preserve Africa’s wondersClimate change is impacting nature, historical sites and communities across the continent. Be inspired by the people of Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania, and learn how planting mangrove trees and using technology can help save historical ruins and communities.

This is a photo of the entrance into the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kilwa Kisiwani off the coast of Tanzania

11. Turn your lens on Africa Join Africa's photographers in capturing and sharing culture in new ways. Be inspired by legendary photojournalist James Barnor, take a look back at 10 years of LagosPhoto Festival and learn how to turn the street into a runway with Stephen Tayo. 

This is a photographic work named Ibeji (brothers) by photographer Stephen Tayo

12. Explore Black history beyond the continent African culture has had a transformative impact on the world and keeps fueling creativity in the diaspora. Join rapper Nas in paying homage to the long tradition of black musicians and storytellers who inspire us to this day. Learn more about Black history and culture in the United States, the United Kingdom or explore 50 years of black creativity through the exhibition ‘Get Up, Stand Up Now.’                                 

This is a video of American rapper Nas paying homage to the long tradition of Black musicians and storytellers in celebration of Black History Month.

Find out more on YouTube Music and with the Google Arts & Culture app on Android or iOS.