Africa Day 2018 held in Farmleigh Estate, Phoenix Park was indeed an event which blended vivacity and solemnity in a perfect assortment. The lush lawns of the park were bedecked with colourful tents and offset with sprightly African rhythms in the backdrop, thereby adding to the festive fervour of a carnival. In honouring tradition and culture, this festival pays homage to indigenous music, dance and artwork from various countries in Africa. Significant is also the fact that in being in association with Irish Aid, the event serves a specific humanitarian function in contributing to the reduction of hunger and poverty in African nations.
In true recognition of culture, the ‘Jambo’ or welcome zone greeted its guests with a melange of vibrant colours and sound, thereby initiating them into the richness of African culture. The Kwassa Kwassa stage witnessed the performances of many talented artists, including Ines Khai, a singer from Guadeloupe whose melodious voice and guitar chronicled tales of sailing across seas to a foreign land. Farah Elle from Libya left the audience mesmerized with her Arabian echoes from Libya. Other artists included the R&B band Shookrah, The Light Runners with their Reggae Beats and Fedah- whose concluding act was the perfect wrap to the music at the Kwassa Kwassa stage. Another stage that hosted a variety of performances in music along with a fashion show was presented was the Malaika Stage. Performers like Rachel Grace and Rythem Africana graced the event with their presence. The Atilogwu Stage hosted by Goodlife Promotions presented a series of DJ’s that paid tribute to various other forms of African music.
The Dance Zone served as a platform for a plethora of dance forms. The rhythm and movement infused the day with an infectious energy that was impossible to contain. There was a presentation of an array of dance forms right from traditional tribal belly dancing to Egyptian dancing, each as enthralling and magnetic as the next. Another interesting act was that of African Zumba performers who staged an impromptu act in the midst of the festivities.
A series of literary performances were presented in the Arakle room, which included slam poetry by Clara Rose Thorton and Dagogo Hart, storytelling by Githanda Githe, and contemporary Irish poetry by Farah Elle. A highlight of the evening included a live podcast from Motherfocloir.
The Marrakech, or African Bazaar was inclusive of a number of stalls featuring art work, clothes and accessories produced by indigenous craftsmen and women. They also featured games, storytelling, paining, hair-braiding and other activities which enlivened the bazaars with their interactive elements. In a similar vein, Mount Kiddimanjaro included an array of stalls dedicated to games, demonstrations, rides and activities exclusively for children. An important highlight of the day was the Fashion Parade, coordinated by TRITTES, which showcased African sartorial aesthetics whilst also conferring honours upon the best dressed family, man and woman.
With its multitude of musical, artistic and literary events and dance programmes, Africa Day was definitely successful in weaving threads of culture into a splendid tapestry worthy of treasuring.