Townsville to Experience African Cultures

Immerse: Cultures from all over Africa will be on display this coming weekend.

Townsville will get a taste of African cultures with an African Festival to be held next weekend.

By Ellanah Ritchie

Africa will be brought to life this weekend in Townsville for the fourth annual African Festival to be held at Riverway Park.

The African Festival is made possible through Spirit of Africa and will this year commemorate the life of African legend Nelson Mandela through special performances and guest speakers.

JCU student and native Zimbabwean Tom Phiri established the organisation when he noticed a growing African community in Townsville.

“We saw that the African community in Townsville was growing every year, and a few [people] were having problems about coming to a new place and not knowing anyone,” Phiri says.

“So we decided to come up with the Spirit of Africa, to help people and introduce them to Townsville.

“We also wanted our children to maintain their culture, so that they don’t forget where they come from even though we are living in Australia.”

Immerse: Cultures from all over Africa will be on display this coming weekend.

Immerse: Cultures from all over Africa will be on display this coming weekend.

The African Festival aims to give the Townsville public a taste of the African way of life including dance, food and the sharing of cultural practices.

“A lot of people don’t know much about Africa other than our animals, but there is more to it than that,” Phiri says.

“The festival will showcase traditional dancing, drumming, and educational stalls about African culture.

“We will be cooking many different types of food which come from all around Africa.

“This year is a special one as we will be honouring one of our African legends, Mr Nelson Mandela.

“Most of the activities will be based around him and his contribution to Africa and the world at large, so that is the main theme for this year.

“We also have groups performing and invited guest speakers who will be speaking about African history and Mr Mandela’s achievements.”

The African Festival coincides with Africa Day, a major celebration across 54 African countries in which the leaders ofl the nations get together to form the African Organisation and discuss issues across the continent.

The event will be held at Riverway Park from 12pm-6pm, Saturday 31 May, with free-entry to the public.