As a part of the cultural activities during the golden jubilee of the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF), the African Youth Bureau participated in the fair through a symposium discussing the cultural heritage of several African countries, and their social history under occupation.
Themed ‘Young People but also Ambassadors’, ambassadors of various African countries, including Egypt, Comoros, Algeria, Chad, and South Sudan presented the culture of their countries through short speeches.
The event witnessed the attendance of Hassan Ghazzali, general coordinator of the African Youth Bureau and vice president of the Pan African Youth Union, with representatives from the participating countries.
Dhafer Ali from the Comoros recounted the history of his country, featuring the geographic and social changes that occurred under the French occupation in 1804. Ali recovered the forgotten heritage of the Comoros by saying “the first inhabitants of the Comoros were Arabs from Yemen, which is why the Comoros Islands were considered an Arab and Islamic country like Egypt.”
Following the same path was Doha from Algeria, who also explained in her speech the changes the French occupation yielded in her hometown, focusing on the demolishing Algerian culture. “The Arabic and French languages are spoken in Algeria because of the long French occupation, which represents a campaign to spread ignorance and annihilate the Arab culture rather than colonialism, which the Algerian people have been striving to tackle since the Algerian revolution,” she stated.
While some focused on the cultural changes, others preferred to focus on the element Egypt plays in shaping the paths of their lives and reintroduced them to another aspect of their heritage.
Mohammed Ibrahim, a participating member from Chad, recalled his memories in Egypt from the moment he came only seeking education. Nonetheless, he found that Egypt offered him more cultural activities through the African Youth Bureau, at the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
For Egyptian participant, Malek, he spoke of the initiative held by the bureau, explaining that
people visit African countries to learn about Africa and its cultural diversity and to contribute to the development of these countries. He pointed out that Africa is not just a continent of famine, but it is much more, stressing there are very beautiful landscapes in Africa and an evolution that matches growth such as that of Kenya.