16.12.2013 - Africa Department

Celebration of the 350th anniversary of the death of Angolan Queen Njinga a Mbande and of the centenary of the birth of Aimé Césaire, Martinique poet and intellectual

@ Angola DelegationAngolan Queen Njinga a Mbande and Aimé Césaire

UNESCO is honoured to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the death of the Queen of Angola Njinga a Mbande as well as the centenary of the birth of Aimé Césaire, French poet and intellectual from Martinique, December 17 at the Headquarters of UNESCO from 16h to 18h in Room II. This activity comes in the framework of the anniversaries celebration programme adopted by Member States of UNESCO during the 36th session of its General Conference.

The ceremony honouring these two figures will be opened by Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, followed by representatives from the French and Angolan governments.

The teaching material elaborated in the context of the project Women in the History of Africa will be presented to illustrate the life of Queen Njinga, particularly through the presentation of an extract of a graphic novel dedicated to this historical figure.

The event will be ending on cultural entertainment by an Angolan dance group to celebrate the life and historical, cultural and intellectual heritage of Queen Njinga and Aimé Césaire.

In sixteenth-century Africa, Queen Njinga was an educated, knowledgeable woman who spoke both her mother tongue and the language of the Europeans with whom she had to negotiate. As a skilful diplomat, she negotiated with the Dutch and the Portuguese to maintain peace and the territorial integrity of her kingdom. She became an icon of resistance to foreign domination and succeeded in convincing the Portuguese to sign the Luanda peace agreement. By converting to Christianity, and changing her name to Ana de Souza, the sovereign Njinga a Mbande demonstrated her great tolerance and attachment to inter-culturalism.

Aimé Fernand David Césaire (1913-2008) was a French poet and politician from Martinique. He was one of the founders of the “Négritude” literary movement and a fervent anti-colonialist. As a friend of Léopold Sedar Senghor, Léon Damas, and André Breton, Aimé Césaire was significantly influenced by surrealism. Advocating “Négritude”, he contributed greatly to the development of the panafricanism concept and participated in African independence movements.  




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