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Celebrate Africa Day in Dalston May 21-27

MUSIC: Abdoulaye Samb, pictured, will be performing with Minnjiaraby during Africa Week Dalston

ON MAY 25 1963, the Organisation of African Unity was formed between newly-liberated African nations. To this day, May 25 is recognised around the world as Africa Day, and since 2016 Dalston - the cosmopolitan community in Hackney, east London - has joined with celebrations of their own.

Celebrating Africa Day and Dalston's African connection

A walk from the Vortex Jazz Club across the raw, atmospheric Gillett Square, over the bustling Kingsland Road and back in time down Ridley Road market reveals the multiculturalism that underpins life in Dalston. As one local remarked: “The thing about Dalston is you can travel the world without leaving.”

Africa Week Dalston is an invitation to explore the African and diaspora influences that make up the community fabric, and to celebrate in the spirit of freedom and togetherness behind Africa Day.

An eclectic lineup of events

An exciting programme of events has been brought together with local venues, event organisers and a grassroots collective led by volunteers.

The series starts on Monday May 21 with a night of Afro-Venezuelan music and culture hosted by Collectivo Futuro at Total Refreshment Centre, featuring a one-off screening of Belén and conversation with director Adriana Vila Guevara.


CELEBRATIONS: This year's festival boasts an eclectic lineup of events (Image: Alex Zalewska from her Ubuntu collection)

Friday May 25th’s celebrations for Africa Day itself include a return to the recently reopened Dalston Roof Park for a night à la Congolaise hosted by Bootstrap and Save the Congo, featuring JJ Bola, DJ Leenzo, Nunu’s Kitchen and party starter legends Kasai Masai. All proceeds will be going towards charity Save the Congo. There’s also the hotly anticipated launch of the weekly Rockers on the Square night at the Vortex Downstairs, with Jamie Rodigan, Inner Gold and Yusuf the Sultan bringing sounds from Rockers International’s spiritual home in Kingston, Jamaica.

On Saturday 26, with Gillett Square alive for the Dalston Children’s Festival during the afternoon, there’ll be an Open Craft Workshop with serial upcyclers RE at Ethiopian coffee specialists Kaffa Coffee, before Africa Fête London and Servant Jazz Quarters team up once again for an evening of music and dance for the Afro Roots Festival.

The event series ends back at Total Refreshment Centre with Hackney Ubuntu on Sunday 27, exploring the open and compassionate spirit of Ubuntu. There’ll be photography, film and discussion, before Afifo Kitchen and Senegalese sensations Little Baobab serve up food and live music with Abdoulaye Samb & Minnjiaraby. A special Fenomeno Show (Open the Gate) “Afro Beat vs Afro Beats” DJ set will ensure Africa Week Dalston ends (and the Bank Holiday begins) in high spirits.

For more information and to get involved, please visit www.africaweekdalston.com

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