It’s Africa Day on May 25th, and for the second year running, the spirit of Africa is being celebrated on the streets of Dalston.
On May 25th 1963, the Organisation of African Unity was formed between newly-liberated African states. May 25th has become known as Africa Day, with celebrations in the spirit of freedom and togetherness around the world. For the second year, Dalston - the cosmopolitan community in East London - is joining in the festivities.
Celebrating Africa Day and Dalston's African connection
A walk from the Vortex Jazz bar across the raw, atmospheric Gillett Square, over the bustling Kingsland Road and back in time down Ridley Road market reveals the multiculturalism that underpins life in Dalston. As one local put it, ‘The thing about Dalston is you can travel the world without leaving’.
Africa Week Dalston commemorates the independence of African nations with an opportunity to celebrate and explore the African and Diaspora influences that make up Dalston’s community fabric. The week-long event programme and cultural blog Kingsland Air are an invitation for the wider community to join in the celebrations in that spirit of freedom and togetherness.
An eclectic line up of events
An exciting programme of events has been brought together by an open grassroots collective led by volunteers. The event series incorporates those specifically created for Africa Week Dalston, as well as embracing independently organised events, with more to come.
The series starts on Sunday 21st May with a record cover art workshop inspired by live music at Vortex Jazz Bar. Events run all week, including music from Congo (Kasai Masai) and Senegal (Abdoulaye Samb & Minnjiaraby, Kadialy Kouyate); a Domino’s club; a family day on Saturday 27th and an interdisciplinary finale with Sunday’s Afro Fest at the Arcola Theatre exploring how Africa is shaping inner city London through business and culture.
Africa Day itself - Thursday May 25th - includes three events, all within a stone’s throw from one another. A celebration of unity with music, food and speakers including Toyin Agbetu takes place at Dalston Roof Park; an open mic night takes contributions from around the world; and a Capoeira Angola workshop.
All events are free or pay-as-you-feel, so there really is something for everyone.
A creative community collaboration
Part of the excitement for this year’s Africa Week Dalston stems from its grassroots feel and a multicultural community looking to celebrate together, with only £2000 being sought to help cover:
- Web content and design (£500, incl. £70 hosting)
- Flyers and posters (£500, incl. £250 printing)
- Comms and coordination (£400)
- Filming and video editing (£400)
- Event support (£200)
Moussa Sow, Director of Africa Fête London, was one of many volunteers involved in last year’s inaugural event to take part once again, hosting nights at Vortex (Wed 24th) and Servant Jazz Quarters (Fri 26th). Of the collaborative process, he said ‘I have been involved in organising festivals around the World for nearly 40 years, but this is different. This is Dalston. Everyone wants to be involved and to learn about other cultures in the community, and everyone is contributing in creative ways’.
With it’s diverse and creative community behind it, Dalston seems like the place to be to celebrate Africa Day later this month.
To find out more and to get involved, visit www.africaweekdalston.com
Contact: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07445533749