Africulturban is one of the premier hip-hop cultural centers in the Dakar area.The name is combined from the words Afrique- Culture- Urban and the association focuses on the education, promotion, and development of urban arts in Senegal. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Africulturban quite a bit throughout my time here in Senegal.
Africulturban is located in a big cultural complex in Pikine, an underprivileged suburb of Dakar. Throughout the year they hold workshops, concerts, festivals, and organize other hip-hop related events. They also help local hip-hop artists record music in their professional-quality recording studio as well as aid with career development. The building and surrounding area are covered with graffiti murals representing everything from religious leaders, to city skylines, to Malcom X to concepts of life and death. (Check out the slideshow!) It’s an open place for people to learn about urban arts, express themselves and polish their craft.
Having this kind of community center in an impoverished area such as Pikine is really important for people. As in many parts of the world, young people in Senegal have latched onto hip-hop as a way to express their daily struggles and represent what matters to them. While there are art schools that exist in Senegal, they tend to be classical and can be inaccessible. With cultural centers such as Africulturban, young people now have a place to learn about and explore urban arts.
Africulturban’s main event of the year is Festa 2H, a week-long international hip-hop festival. I was lucky enough to attend and help out with promotion and documentation of the fest. Stay tuned for some cool upcoming blogs about the fest!
Here are two of the main organizers of Africulturban, Amadou Fall Ba and Matador explaining a bit about the association and how it got started.