As the Millennium Development Goals declare, the achievement of a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers is essential. Safety is a priority, as the UN-Habitat publication on enhancing urban safety and security has recently shown. This research focuses on safety, but with a very specific, pluri-disciplinary and comparative approach. The study is based on the analysis of innovative cultural events and public art installations produced in three violent and unsafe African cities : Douala (Cameroon), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Luanda (Angola). Cultural events and public art are not meant to produce safety : they are a space of experimentation with side effects : one of those is safety. Douala is the location of a major cultural event on public art and of a critical number of public installations conceived in over twenty years. Johannesburg is at the centre of a policy of urban renovation implemented through cultural initiatives. Luanda has assisted in the last seven years to a post-war cultural strategy. Informal studies have assessed the experimental capacity of those experiences of producing livability, civil cohabitation and social cohesion, the main features of urban safety. Further knowledge and a pluri-disciplinary and comparative approach is needed to acknowledge the role and the impact of cultural events and public art on safety. This knowledge made available at a local and international level through ICT and mobile phone technology is essential in order to allow researchers, NGOs and policy makers to consider new ways of improving the lives of slum dwellers.