Last month I had the pleasure of working with Movemeback, an exciting platform that aspires to drive positive economic and social growth in Africa by providing an internationally trusted platform through which individuals, organisations and institutions across the world interact and partner with Africa, at The Africa Centre Summer Festival.
The festival held by the African Centre in Southwark, was nothing short of amazing. Filled with displays, performances and a wide range of activities, all-encompassing a very Afrocentric theme. It was extremely inclusive and informative, celebrating the best of African cultures.
It went without saying that for me, a key highlight of the day was the food, notably from Chale and Suya Spot! Both currently hold pop-ups around London, so check out their social channels to find out more: @Chaleletseat and @Suyaspotuk.
But above all, the main feature throughout the day was the performances. The festival had three stages: The Black British Music Stage; The African Music Stage; and The young Africa Centre Stage, showcasing a mixture of old and emerging artists including a celebrity guest appearance from Nigerian superstar D’banj, who came to support The Fedz.
Support and praise for the event continues to flood in with no end; some claiming that it has grown from strength to strength in the past few years. With workshops and talks on black art, history, food, and culture, many attendees, old and new, white and black, were able to be informed of the cultural trends and discussion points, coming out of the diaspora.
It’s not just about creating a safe space once a year but rather keeping the African diaspora engaged. With the growing gap between the old and new diaspora, it’s more important than ever to keep all members of the diaspora informed, to remember their history and culture.
Whereas the older diaspora generation may immediately identify and recognise their ancestral lineage, the younger generation is immediately challenged with the confusion of identity, growing institutional racism and the overwhelming need to be categorised. In western countries, you are black before you are African, you’re not given space to explain your narrative.
However, in recent years there has been a growth in challenging this narrative, notably visible in Art and Fashion. It is even more evident in music, the incorporation of African languages, phrases and instrumentals. Many are shifting the focus away from the economic power of the diaspora and their contribution to the continent’s development, often in the form of remittances. There is a greater understanding that the diaspora is much larger than that and represents an influential bridge between African and western countries in which knowledge, art, and history move fluidly.
If you want to see me conducting interviews with Big Tobz, Sneakbo and Moelogo, click here. (Side note: I’m a bit awkward)