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Debate ‘African Cities: problem or solution?’ and visit of the Blueprints of Paradise exhibition

18 June 2011 - 15:00hrs. Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal (NL)

image from the entry Garden City Park from Kobina Banning

It is a pleasure to invite you for an introduction to the Blueprints of Paradise exhibition, developed by African Architecture Matters in collaboration with the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal, the Netherlands. You are welcome for a programme, organised with the Afrika Museum and ZAM magazine on 18 June from 14:30hrs. onwards. Please confirm your attendance through There is limited capacity for the event, so we advise you to be fast.


14:30 auditorium open 15:00 introductions and debate

  • Introduction June issue ZAM magazine by editor in chief Bart Luirink

  • Introduction to the exhibition by Berend van der Lans

  • Debate ‘African Cities: problem or solution?’ with some of the Blueprints participants, jury member Femke van Zeijl (moderation), Bart Luirink and Antoni Folkers

16:00 visit of the exhibition with curators Siebe Rossel (Afrika Museum) and Berend van der Lans 17:00 drinks at the restaurant ‘De Kleine Kalebas’ The exhibition is based upon the results of the competition ‘Blueprints of Paradise’, which invited African architects and artist to make proposals for the built future of Africa. An international and multi-disciplinary jury selected 12 projects to be presented in the exhibition, among which the prize winning projects. See more information on the competition and exhibition via

Many entries addressed the city and more precisely the multi-disciplinary way public space is used in African cities. The jury concluded that some of the solutions brought forward in the entries could provide fruitful inspiration for addressing planning challenges in western cities. A surprising statement, since in many western eyes African cities are synonymous for poverty and problems. Based upon quotes and statements by the participants of the competition, the debate will touch upon the quality and challenges of life in African cities. Can African cities set an example for the rest of the world? As mentioned above, please confirm your attendance via, indicating your name(s), organization and phone number. Registered guests can enter the museum for a reduced entrance fee (€ 5,00 per person). If you are a Museumkaart holder, the museum entrance is free. You will find the Afrika Museum at Postweg 6, 6571 CS BERG EN DAL. (See for directions We look forward to seeing you on the 18th June! Kind regards,

Antoni Folkers and Berend van der Lans Directors African Architecture Matters

The special print of the artwork Mandela Landscape by Anton Corbijn and Berend Strik for ZAM international will be on show. Information on the participants of the debate: Femke van Zeijl is a Dutch freelance journalist and writer who focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa. She studied history at the University of Utrecht and then switched to the Academy for Journalism in Tilburg. She travels to the African continent several times a year, staying for prolonged periods of time in for instance the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique or Burkina Faso. From a socio- economic and cultural perspective she portrays people and their everyday lives, thus giving a human face to global developments. She writes for various Dutch newspapers and magazines and her work has been published in American, British and German media. In October 2010 her book Gin-tonic & Cholera on city life in Sub-Saharan Africa was launched, for which she stayed in six different cities all over the continent. In 2007 she published Een nacht in een vijzel, a book about the position of women in Africa. Visit also Bart Luirink lives in South Africa since 1993. He was correspondent for Dutch newspapers and radio stations. Also he contributed to magazines like Vrij Nederland, HP/De Tijd and Nieuwe Revu. Since 2004 he is editor in chief of ZAM Africa Magazine. He published among others Zingende pijnbomen, een kroniek van Amsterdam in Afrika (1996) and Moffies (1998). In 2008 he edited the collection Voor Nelson Mandela, Verhalen en voetnoten bij zijn negentigste verjaardag. With Madeleine Maurick he works on the struggle for homosexuals Africa. In 2010 his book Puur goud was launched, describing his experiences in South Africa. Antoni Folkers is an architect and urban designer. His professional career started as researcher and designer in Ouagadougou before joining the Institute for Tropical Building (IFT) of Dr G Lippsmeier in Starnberg, Germany. For Lippsmeier he became Resident Architect for East Africa in 1988. In 1992 he founded FBW Architects with Belinda van Buiten en Geoff Wilks []. The firm has won various awards for their innovative projects in the field of technology, culture and the public realm in African and Europe.

Antoni Folkers is co-founder of ArchiAfrika and published a wide range of articles and papers on architectural subjects. Recently (April 2010) he published two works on African architecture: Mtoni - Palace, Sultan & Princess of Zanzibar and Modern Architecture in Africa. The latter book, on his 25 years of building and research experience in Africa, was also subject of the PhD research under supervision of Wytze Patijn, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology.

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