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The DemoCreatives Concept & Launch

DemoCreatives is an initiative designed to harness creatives’ unique talents and influence – musicians, poets, actors, playwrights and artists, etc – to promote and advocate for democratic principles and good governance practices in West Africa and across the continent. Through a series of targeted workshops, collaborative campaigns, public forums and concerts, this project seeks to engage the creative community in the promotion of democracy and good governance- civic participation, transparency, and accountability.

In recent years, the global landscape of democracy and governance has faced numerous challenges. From the erosion of civil liberties to the rise of authoritarianism, the need for an informed and active citizenry has never been greater. The West African, Central African, and Sahel regions have witnessed nine coups since 2020. The coup in Niger is the latest challenge thrown at the sub-region, bringing to four the number of countries in francophone West Africa undergoing political transition. These series of setbacks have reversed the gains made at consolidating democracy and good governance and have highlighted the challenges to stability and cooperation within the regional organization. A September 2022 Afrobarometer poll indicated a decline in support for democratic elections in 26 of the 30 African countries surveyed between 2011 and 2021. This trend extends to nations with historically stable electoral processes, such as Ghana and Nigeria.

Creatives play a crucial role in reflecting societal values, inspiring change and proposing alternative solutions by using arts to express their opinions, perspectives, and experiences on socio-political issues, such as democracy, human rights, corruption, development and culture. Through arts, creatives can raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and inspire societal change. Again, creative arts create spaces for participation, interaction, and collaboration among different stakeholders in society- artists, activists, policymakers, politicians and citizens.

Creatives have, through their skills, talents and products, tackled the exercise, maintenance, and dynamics of power through a variety of artistic means. This political and civic consciousness that influences their artworks increasingly defines African art as citizens seeking the dividends of democracy and demanding improved democratic governance and good leadership.

West African youth, most notably young women and creatives, have been at the forefront of several protests and movements against democratic backsliding and bad governance, pushing against violations of democratic norms and values. In recent years and over the past months, several notable mobilizations, including the EndSARS protests in Nigeria – which saw the involvement of many creatives, the Y’en a Marre and Balai Citoyen movements in Senegal and Togo.

In 2020, Yiaga Africa and the African Movement for Democracy created an album titled “Music as a Messenger of Democracy” that uses music to encourage young people to get involved in politics. This pan-African project features musicians from Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Togo, Nigeria, and Benin and addresses issues including corruption, peace, and good governance.

Despite the potential and efforts of creative arts and the creative industry, it has not effectively positioned itself to address the perennial democracy and governance challenges across West Africa and the sub-region and there has been a lack of collaboration between creatives and other democracy champions. The disconnect between creatives and everyday governance issues limits the promotion of citizen mobilization and accountable governance.


Based on the foregoing, the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS), together with its collaborators, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, Yiaga Africa, AWO Hub and Africtivistes, is launching DemoCreatives in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, June 21, 2024. DemoCreatives aim to raise awareness about retrogressing democracy, increase citizens’ participation in governance and leverage the power, influence, and resources of creatives to promote democratic norms in the sub-region.


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