Minister McHugh with performers and Africa Day champions. Photo credit: Marc O'Sullivan
Africa Day on the 25th May is celebrated in Africa and across the world and offers the world a chance to celebrate the richness and diversity of African cultures and the achievements and challenges of the African continent. In Ireland, Irish Aid is supporting events taking place in Cork, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Galway, and the national flagship event taking place on Sunday, 21 May at the Farmleigh Estate in Dublin.
Africa Day champion Onai Tafuma with Gemma the Giraffe. Photo credit: Marc O'Sullivan
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, will officially open the Africa Day event at Farmleigh. Speaking ahead of the event, he said:
“I hope as many people as possible will join us for this year’s Africa Day celebration at Farmleigh and in the other five locations around the country.
“Ireland’s connections with Africa have developed in many exciting ways over recent years. Africa Day gives us the opportunity to highlight these connections, as well as the vibrant African diaspora here in Ireland and the contribution that they make to Irish society. It is wonderful to have all the African Embassies at Farmleigh again this year and I am delighted that we will be joined by the Sudanese Embassy for the first time.
“I am delighted that Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, is centrally involved in the organisation of Africa Day. In addition to highlighting the cultural and economic potential of the continent, Africa Day also raises awareness of the progress that is being achieved through working with Irish Aid partners.
“I am particularly pleased to see that, as well as our flagship event in Dublin, Africa Day events will take place in Cork, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny and Limerick over the next two weeks.
“Wherever you are celebrating Africa Day, it promises to be a great day out for everyone.”
The event in Farmleigh, Dublin, will run from 11am to 6pm and all are welcome to attend. The festival will feature three stages of live music with international and home-grown music acts such as Kíla, K.O.G. & THE ZONGO BRIGADE, the Discovery Gospel Choir, BARQ, and Aik J all performing on the day. There will also be an area for dancing, drumming workshops and storytelling.
The outdoor African bazaar, called ‘Marrakech’, is a must-see for any visitor to the Dublin event. It will feature stalls from different African countries, offering food, drumming, dance, hair-braiding, henna hand-painting, traditional fashion designs, and lots more. In addition to African community groups, a range of development NGOs will offer fun activities in the bazaar, while the African embassies in Ireland will also be represented at the event. For families attending the event, there will be a special children’s area called ‘Mount Kiddimanjaro’ that will feature fun fair rides, drumming workshops, zorbing and face-painting.
Reflecting Irish Aid’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, attendees at the Farmleigh event are encouraged to leave their cars at home and instead take public transport, walk or cycle. To support this, Irish Aid will be providing bicycle racks at Farmleigh and Dublin Buswill provide a free shuttle-bus service from the Heuston Bridge / Parkgate Street bus stop into the Phoenix Park.
In Cork, a public outdoor event will be held in Fitzgerald’s Park on Saturday, 27th May from 12noon to 6pm. The family focussed event will have plenty of activities for children, drumming workshops, hair braiding, face painting, balloons, bouncy castles and cultural games with prizes.
In Kilkenny, a public lecture on entrepreneurship at Maynooth University, Kilkenny Campus on Friday, 2nd June will be followed by a Mini Trade and Business Fair at MacDonagh Junction on Saturday, 3rd June, where African entrepreneurs and business owners in Ireland will be invited to advertise/showcase their products, services and ideas. Africa Day celebrations will conclude on Sunday, 4th June with performances by African, Irish and ethnic minority cultural groups; a fashion show; a comedy show and a special area to taste African cuisine at The Parade.
The Kildare “Taste of Africa” Festival Day will take place in Newbridge Town Hall on Saturday 20th May. The event will showcase the diversity of African Culture and will be a magical day of celebrating African food, dance and music.
“Beyond Africa” is the theme for the 2017 Africa Day celebrations in Limerick. On Thursday 25th May, there will be a symposium of talks held in the Strand Hotel in an interactive World Café style. The final event will be a family fun day in the Milk Market on Sunday 28th May, which will include activities such as music, dance, crafts, children’s entertainment and food. A volunteer recognition event will be held in City Hall afterwards with the Mayor presenting the certificates to all the volunteers involved in this year’s programme.
In Galway, a number of Africa Day festivities will run from 17th – 25th May. It will include an interactive music workshop at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church, Victoria Place, a football event at the Westside Astro facility featuring eight Galway primary schools and the 10th Galway African Film Festival will take place from 19th -21st in the Mick Lally Theatre (Druid). A special Africa Day event will also take place in Doughiska, Galway’s most multicultural suburb.