22 August 2019
Just after lunch. With a coffee like the traditional African tradition. A moment of meeting; to learn and share. The oral tradition unites us with ourselves. So explained the writer and activist Mamadou Dia in the African Village. Festivalgoers at the 26th edition of Rototom Sunsplash sat down under the colourful roof canvas of this small slice of Africa in the reggae festival of Benicàssim. They are drinking this particular African coffee along with Lucía Asué Mbomio Rubio (journalist and investigator), Moha Gerehou (digital journalist and community manager), Thimbo Samb (actor, youtuber) y Desirée Bela Lobedde (communicator and activist) to speak about African dignity. About platforms and social networks are valued in reality; that there isn’t magnificent Europe, nor an awful Africa, explained Lucía. Also the removal of glass ceilings and the importance of role-models.
Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean, more than 130 people are waiting for some government to open a safe port for more than 15 days. It’s an urgent call for solidarity with those people who fled from their homes, who abandoned everything in search of a place without war to start a new life. But they continue drifting, surviving; thanks to th team of Open Arms. Macaco remembers an incredible value of this team of lifeguards who dedicated themselves to saving lives in the Mediterranean during his concert. Directly in front of him, thousands of people sang with him for those brave people on the Main Stage.
In the festival area dozens of people gave form to the march of Fridays For Future, a call to attention to climate change; “Now we are hoping for effects outside as well”, explained Pablo González, a volunteer for the climate youth movement. “We’re here to raise awareness. There is a section of the population who don’t know the reality. The most important message is that we have to stop climate change. We have less time than we thought”. “Governments and corporations have to know that the civil population has decided that we’re not going to stay quiet”, explained Grian A. Cutanda, “we’re rebelling to make sure that action is taken now”. He is here as a representative of Extinction Rebellion Spain and Granada and you can find him alongside Fridays for Future and Greenpeace in the No Profit area giving information about the “act of civil disobedience that we’ve organised for 7th October in Madrid”. He also appeared in the Social Forum alongside Tatiana Nuño Martínez (Greenpeace activist) calling us to action to defend the environment; “Everything that isn’t done today is going to make the disaster much worse. People must understand that we are speaking about something very severe”.
Social movements that look to the future, thinking in the present, but not forgetting about the past. For example the anti-racist campaign #WeAreMore, that is also presented at the festival; the debate Women for future in the Social Forum, where a new form of understanding climate through gender equality can be known; eco-feminism; or the indigenous activist Sonia Guajajara can be seen and heard, about the issues of exploitation of the Amazon.
Rototom doesn’t only use music to expand the message of peace and solidarity but is also converted in a loudspeaker for these types of initiatives and many others, to make their work known. It’s also a meeting point for speaking about feminism, environment, anti-racism, economy, sustainability, etc. A place where we don’t forget the identity of Africa, what is happening in our seas and which s the motto of Stand up for Earth: “Only 2 minutes on Friday 16th on the Main Stage to call the public to action and a global march by Extinction Rebellion, the Fridays for Future strikes in September, for us is important and makes it worth coming to Rototom”, confesses Grian, “what we need is not hope, but courage, as Kate Marvel (NASA) said”.
Asun Pérez (Translated by Finn Darco)