By Akinyi Princess of K’Orinda-Yimbo

this year’s motto was Brazil’s African culture and music

The Africa Festival which has been taking place for 19 years in the city of Wuerzburg has become Europe’s biggest festival for African music and culture. According to the organisers, in the last 19 years more than 1.300.000 visitors from Germany and other foreign countries came to the Festival in Europe to witness the cultural wealth of Africa and to participate in Africa’s zest for life. Because of its great success in Germany, the Africa Festival has now found a few copiers of varying quality, whom the Africa Festival distances themselves from by licensing the name and logo depicted in the two dancing figures. In future this guarantees the high quality in music and background programmes. Since its beginning, the festival has yearly invited at least one international African musician such as Miriam Makeba, Papa Wemba, Yussour N’Dor, Kadija and so on.

”This year, a country was in the centre of attention that is famous for its music and love
of life all over the world: Brazil. Who wouldn't know the colourful samba groups to be seen on TV every year? However, apart from music, love of life and the special flair of the Brazilian Carnival, we ought not to forget how this music came to Brazil. Millions of African slaves were transported to Brazil under cruel circumstances, bringing along their rhythms and melodies. We should remember that, when applauding the stars of Brazilian music today,” the organisers maintained. The Festival is always open from 10.00am to 10.00pm in the 2nd week of May each year.

drums, fertility sculptures and masks Apart from the Brazilian music, visitors were treated in the four-day-long festival to come along on a musical journey through the African continent. To meet bands and musicians from Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, the Cape Verdian Islands, Mauritius, and Reunion – with numerous promising young musicians, many of whom make their first appearances in Germany! Not to forget introducing a new country on Africa's musical map: "Reggae from Germany ". Brothers’ Keepers and Sisters’ Keepers as well: “Excellent reggae riddims do not necessarily come from Jamaica.”

Bedouin paintings and handcraft

even imitation “Christ” draws the crowd with and African robe and a Kente cloth over the shoulder

reality, not “racism”

Madagascan cutlery made of tortoiseshell

sculptures next to cloth material and colourful amber beads

whether blond or brunette….

beauty is in the hands of the African hairdresser

enchanting potential buyers with a simple African hand music instrument

Moroccan furniture made of wood and mother of pearl

Cloths, wood carvings, sculptures, wooden stools

deciding which meadows street to follow in the bazaar

Apart from music was the African bazaar in the sprawling walled-in meadows streets selling everything from Kente cloth to African hairdos, tortoiseshell cutlery from Madagascar to Egyptian trinkets, sculptures from Kenya and Tanzania plus all the culinary delights from injera to foufou, pilau and nyama choma, chapattis and stewed meat, ugali and matoke with tilapia cooked in coconut milk!

Even the kiddies had their own corner of the meadows with various tents where there were clowns and storytellers reciting African fairy tales and children’s stories, African proverbs and poetry, crayon and watercolour painting workshops. Children under the age of 12 had free entrance. And the beauty of this festival is that anybody from any corner of the world can apply to participate as an artist or art dealer or curious tourist under

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: “The city of Wuerzburg has given permission to extend the opening hours of the Festival’s Havanna Club to 3 o'clock in the morning. We kindly ask all our guests to then leave quietly. In order to make sure that everybody has a good time at the festival and feels safe, we reserve the right to deny drunken and obnoxious guests admittance to the festival ground. The Festival has always been known for being a peaceful festival and we would like to keep it as such. There will be a cab stand at the main entrance of the festival. Please do not drink and drive….”

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