Sunday, 24 May 2015

Africa Day Irish Style

Promo Photo

A tall gentleman from Uganda, who has lived in India, London and now Dublin told me he prayed for a sunny dry day today, and his prayers were answered. Today was glorious  - blue skies, slight breeze and sunshine. I know I'm 'becoming Irish' as the weather is a popular topic of conversation.

However, on days like this, when there's a major outdoor community event, the weather is an integral part of it's success.

The crowds flocked to Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park for a day of dancing and singing, colourful national costumes, food and entertainment.

Africa Day Dublin 2015 was a huge success for the organizers, vendors and those who participated.

Africa Day, designate by the African Union is an annual celebration of the continents unity and is celebrated globally. Check out your local Facebook page, or Google it to see what and when the festivities are in your city.

The African community in Dublin is small, tho growing. The 2013 Annual Report of Africa Centre, notes there are over 66,000 (one would think that figure is higher in 2015) people of African decent living in Ireland. A small, but growing community.

I sat in on a free half hour drum lesson and am hooked. Uche was a great teacher, and MissM decided she wanted to try after my group was finished.  She said it was like Taiko but harder as you had to use your hands and not a taiko bachi (sticks). Being a good dancer, with great rhythm, she (and I) picked up the drumming technique quickly.

A friend of G's joined us for the day with his family. MrA was born in Uganda, and raised in Kenya. The face on the lady at the Kenyan food stand when he ordered his lunch in his mother tongue was priceless. I wish I had the camera handy!

There were 3 entertainment stages. The music got under you skin and you just had to move. We joined in a dancing session on the grass, under the blue skies and it was hot! Hundreds of people sat on the grass, the clever ones on picnic blankets, and enjoy the atmosphere.

It was lovely bumping into friends from the Diplomatic community; MissM met up with a few friends from school and had a great time running around, checking out stuff.

We were enthralled by a reading from Thabi Madide who read from her book entitled A Zebra in my Lounge! A story about a 10 year old girl growing up in Delgany Village (CO. Wicklow; we were there only last weekend) with South African parents. She's Irish. They are South African. School is Irish. Home vocabulary is South African - where does she belong? The million dollar expat question. MissM was given a complimentary copy of her book which she happily signed when asked.

We were having such a great time and our coats were slung over my arm that I didn't take any photos! Imagine that! I can't believe I haven't one photo of the colourful national costumes we saw today; or the decorative head dresses and/or scarves.

If you are in Dublin this time next year, you must remember to look out for information about Africa Day at go - you won't regret it.

With friendship

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