The Hague African Festival featuring Africans in the city, Hoorah!!!
Finally, the much-anticipated African festival of the city of The Hague took place on Sunday the 1st of July 2012 from 12:00 until 23:00. This year’s edition was the fourth time the event has been celebrated. Previously celebrated at Zuiderpark, the event was moved to the bubbling centrum of The Hague “ Spuiplein and the Anthon Phillip Zaal”. The Festival hosted a variety of African bands and dance groups. Themed “Africa in the City” there were dozens of stands displaying African products and wares to celebrate the African culture, roots and history. The display was a combination of trade fairs and African art works.
Even though the fourth edition of The Hague African Festival was celebrated this year, its history dates back to 1983 when it was first initiated by Oko Drammeh and the Delft African Festival Foundation. At that time, the festival was called, “African Festival Delft” and it was a popular and well attended event. The event was temporarily stopped when the Delft City Council ended its support for the festival. It was later resumed in 2007 when Sankofa Foundation and Oxfam Novib collaborated to relaunch it. Both organisations organised the last edition of Delft African Festival in that year. In 2008, the event was re-branded and moved to the city of The Hague and the name was consequently changed to The Hague African Festival.
The Hague African Festival was a free entrance event for all. African music artists such as Wasifu (Hague-Congolese band), Black Prophet (Ghana), Ebou Gaye Mada (Gambia), Kioso Kyuwenda (Dutch choir that sings African with an African conductor), Makoomba (Zimbabwe), Wi After Wan (Afro-Surinamese Kaskawi), Omar Ka and Fula Band all entertained the attendees and gave them a fun filled day. Beside the bands, there was a Bini traditional dance/cultural group from Nigeria as well as a young Ghanaian dance group that did the raving Azonto dance. The event is the biggest ever dedicated to Africans living in the Netherlands and especially the international and political city of The Hague.
The festival, made possible by Sankofa Foundation and Resto VanHarte, provided a variety of displays of African cuisine to cater for the audiences’ appetite during the event. The diverse food presentation was a contribution towards Oxfam Novib’s GROW campaign. Thousands of people consisting of Africans and citizens of varying continents attended the festival that showcased the African life in a European setting. The event was a form of cultural exchange between Africa, Europe and several other continents that were present. With a lovely weather and colourful people and performances, it was a beautiful day to be African.
At about 5pm, guests were invited to a conference in which they were later treated to some delicious African food and drinks. There were African drinks such as Palm wine, Gulder, Star beer, etc. It was very inspiring to see people of all walks of life and origin come together to celebrate Africa, its people, music and more!
The Hague African Festival was an enjoyable and inspiring event that fused African culture with other cultures around the world. It was a successful event that was attended by thousands of people among who were tourists.
Watch out for the video: The Hague African Festival 2012 ” Africa in the City”
Images – AfroCosmopolitan (Gloria)