The most famous and globally recognized major cultural event in Burkina Faso are the film festival “Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou”, the FESPACO. These have taken place in Ouagadougou every two years since 1969. They are seen as the “showcase” of African cinema.
The 25th edition of FESPACO took place from February 25th to March 4th, 2017. 950 films were submitted for this, 70 of them from Burkina Faso. The jury selected 20 films for the competition. Many films deal with current issues in Africa. As never before, women were the focus of this FESPACO. The Burkinabe opening film “Frontièrs” by Apoline Traore criticizes the lack of border freedom between CEDEAO states. In this road movie, four women travel from Dakar to Lagos and their modest businesses reach every conceivable limit. “Wulu” from Mali exposes the complicity of the Malian military and Al-Qaeda in drug trafficking. Adama Roamba’s Burkinabe film ” Le forêt de Niolo”deals with wealth and deadly environmental degradation in Burkina Faso. The winner of the” Etalon d´or de Yennenga “was announced on March 4th, 2017:” Félicité “by Alain Gomis from Senegal, who won the first prize four years ago with Tey (= “today”). The main character of the very musical film is a bar singer in Kinshasa who lives in an electrifying milieu. Her life becomes a tough fight, which she fights bravely and relentlessly. The film was already released four weeks earlier presented at the Berlinale and was described as one of the saddest stories ever told at the Berlinale. He received the “Jury’s Grand Prize Silver Bear.
The FESPACO 2017 proved that there is a lively film culture scene in Ouagadougou, which is however different from the folk festivities of the ” rues marchandes ” (rows of folkloric stalls and beer bars with grilled meat) and is also not in agreement with the accompanying political speeches.
There are only two larger Burkinabe cinemas in Ouagadougou and the films do not penetrate the city districts or the rural population.
In May 2019 which took 26th edition of FESPACO instead.
According to softwareleverage, the second largest cultural event in Burkina Faso is the SIAO, the “Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou”, a handicraft fair. It takes place every two years. (In 2014 it was canceled due to the risk of Ebola.) The 15th edition of the SIAO took place from October 26th. until 04.11.2018. The host country was Madagascar. The fair showed products from all over Africa on around 10,000 m² of exhibition space. 2,710 exhibitors faced 250,000 visitors. The rich offer of Burkinabe handicrafts testified to the craft tradition of the country. The most important commercial goods are bronze statuettes, which are made using the lost form technique, woodwork such as masks and statuettes, but also musical instruments (Djembé, balafone, etc.), leather goods, wickerwork, cotton blankets and traditionally woven, dyed and tailored fabrics (national costume: Faso dan Fani), as well as fabrics painted with different batik techniques. Shoes and jewelry were offered by North Africans. The SIAO is a demonstration against mass and cheap production. Many visitors therefore repeatedly complain about the high prices of the products.
The ” Semaine Nationale de la Culture ” (SNC) is also held every two years. The aim of the SNC is to promote the national cultural scene. It has been taking place in Bobo-Dioulasso since 1990, with changing themes. When awarding the prizes, the cultural differences of the regions are also taken into account in different categories. The 19th edition of the SNC took place in 2018 and the 20th edition in 2020.
The cultural scene is not only animated by the state, but also by many private and professional cultural institutions.
Some of the many independent events and festivals are:
- Customer, largest music festival with awards
- Jazz à Ouaga, music festival
- Waga Festival, festival of musical talent, formerly: Waga Hip Hop
- Nuits Atypiques de Koudougou (NAK), mixed culture event, international music festival
- Festival Balan-Kan, festival of the balafon in Orodara
- Reggae City Festival, head organizer Sams´k Jah
Film, theater and dance
- Récréâtrales, theater festival of theater funding
- FITD, International Festival of Development Theater at the ATB
- Rendez-vous chez nous, street theater, acrobatics in three cities
- FITMO, International Theater and Puppet Festival by Jean-Pierre Guingane
- International dance festival, choreography
- FESTIMA, masks and art in Dedougou
- Carneval Dodo, animal masquerade at the end of Ramadan
Literature and tradition
- Festival Yeelen, fairy tales and music
- FIRHO [Foire International du Rire à Ouagadougou], laughter and humor festival
- Festivals des Arts & Traditions Populaires du Nayala, various regional cultural events
- Festival Passana, joke affinities
- FESTANA, art and culture in Toma / Nayala
- FESDIG, Youth and Culture in Fada N´Gourma
- FESTICHAMS, camel festival, culture and music in the Sahel