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AFRICA FESTIVAL WUERZBURG 2005

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Sunshine, percussion rhythms that made your body automatically swing, artworks and fashion accessories made of natural materials. That was not all. The air was filled with appetizing exotic spicy smell that intuitively invited you to have a taste of the food. People from different cultures, young and elderly, with smiles on their faces boldly expressing happiness and enjoying the atmosphere; the atmosphere of the 17th African Festival in Wuerzburg between 26-29th May 2005.

 

The opening ceremony of the festival was grandiose. African and German dignitaries including the honourable Ambassadors from Ethiopia, Jamaica Cuba, and South Africa, cultural ministers from Mali, the mayor of Wuerzburg and the legendary African music star Boubacar Traoré. In different speeches, the topics relating to German and African cooperation were presented. The situation of HIV AIDS in Africa particularly in South Africa was declared as a major threat. A project to distribute 1 million golden condoms in South Africa was announced. The German Reggae/Hip Hop star, Gentleman was to play an important role in the public relation of the project. In connection with the HIV AIDS issue, two infected South Africans received prizes for their activities in campaigning for safe sex in South Africa. Other prizes were also awarded during the opening ceremony including the Africa Festival Award (AFA) received by Boubacar Traoré.

Following the opening ceremony, a colourful parade of Afro-Brazilian dancers gave the festival a touch of Rio Carnival. Visitors were thrilled with Samba music and long-legged sexy ladies dancing elegantly in professional steps. The first music group were on the open stage after the parade to render welcoming music and keep the good mood. The market stalls offered made in Africa goods ranging from African batik, African music instruments such as djembe to necklaces, bracelets, belts and many other articles that made the hearts of fashion freaks beat faster. Literary/Educational information about or relating to Africa was provided in symposia/discussion panels, workshops as well as in film shows.

Children had their fun with African acrobats and story-tellers in the children tent.

The list of music artists performing in the evening shows included high-profile international renowned stars such as Rita Marley, Boubacar Traoré, Gentleman, Julian Marley, Queen Omega and Lucky Peterson. The artists received many rounds of applause and ovations from the audience. The performances were both classy and terrific. Entertainment was provided at its best. Isabelle Siyou, the woman with a melodic voice, moderated the music concerts. The enjoyment was extended as usual by the late night performances and disco in the Havana Club. Visitors could taste Caribbean cocktails and dance to latest Samba, Latin Rap, Hip Hop, African and Caribbean beats. The lovable DJ Djane Tania from Curacao displayed her extra-ordinary talents in mixing the hottest tunes.

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 Boubacar Traoré from Mali. Received the Africa Festival Award (AFA) 2005
 

Cross-sectional interviews conducted by AFRITOPIC revealed that most visitors were very satisfied with the festival. The festival practically brought “Africa” to Wuerzburg. The people had the chance to acquire information about the African culture, attend and participate in discussions relating to Africa/Africans. Visitors could feel African rhythm, taste African food, see and buy African products. In all about 120.000 visitors attended the four-day festival. Many of them have visited the festival each year for several years. According to the organizers, since the first festival 17 years ago, the number of visitors has increased steadily. AFRITOPIC could only wish that the understanding between Africans and Germans as well as with other cultures would improve and continue to improve for the best of all. 

 Julian Marley
 In an interview with AFRITOPIC, the Jamaican Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Marcia Roberts said, “Music is common to everyone. It could therefore be used as an instrument to transport the Black culture around the world. This is one of the important aspects of the Africa Festival.  An online magazine like AFRITOPIC is a nice tool to disseminate authentic information about Black Diaspora. All the technical possibilities the tool offers should be applied to promote the Black culture globally. Economically speaking, Jamaica is still on her way to achieve her goals. While the Embassy is not directly involved in business marketing, we do provide general information about Jamaica. There are many Jamaican agencies involved in promoting investment opportunities in Jamaica”.

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Entertaiment everywhere
 
Rio Carnival at the Festival
 
Multi-cultural young couple feeling fine at the festival.
 

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Opening Ceremony photos>

Festival photos1>
Festival photos2>
Festival photos3>
Boubacar Traore>
Rita Marley>
Julian Marley>
Anthony Baffoe>
Gentleman>
Queen Omega>
 
Jamaican Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Marcia Roberts (Sitting left in black and white)
 
Ethiopian Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Hiruy Amanuel Gebresellasie (left the diplomatic service in march 2006)
 

In a short interview with AFRITOPIC, the former Ethiopian Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Hiruy Amanuel Gebresellasie, expressed his opinion about the impact of Africa-focused magazines/newspapers in Germany as follows: The magazines and newspapers in print and online forms published by Africans are necessary. But the question is, “Who are reading these publications?” Are the policy and decision makers in Germany reading them? If the readers are only Africans who are already aware of the problems and convinced that there should be a change, then the publications have no impact on the socio-political changes. In order to analyze the situation, I would suggest that a workshop should be organized with Africans in the media, African business people, African academics, Africans in the diplomatic services and other African organizations participating. In the workshop, the situation of the Africa-focused media should be analyzed and strategy to get published information across to the policy and decision makers across should be developed. Moreover, it is also very important to have Germans speaking to other Germans on our behalf. The reason is obvious; Generally speaking, a German would rather believe a German than believing an African.

 
 Gentleman, the German Reggae/Hip Hop star
 

Rita Marley presented her autobiography “No Woman No Cry – My Life with bob Marley”, her foundation “The Rita Marley Foundation” and her latest album “sunshine after rain”.

 
Families attended the festival with children and friends.

End.  Afritopic.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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