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
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
Children had their fun with African acrobats and story-tellers in 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.
Traoréfrom 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.
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”.
Jamaican Ambassador to Germany, Hon.
(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.
the German Reggae/Hip Hop star
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.