Africa Day will be celebrated in Athlone this weekend with a day of music, cultural events and food sampling.
A special event will be held at Burgess Park on Saturday, May 27 from 1pm to 8pm and offers a chance for people to come together and celebrate the diversity of Africa.
One of the organisers from the Athlone African Community Group, Patricia Kagodora, is looking forward to the event and said it will try “to integrate the African culture into Irish society to let people know what we are all about.”
Patricia also hopes that Irish people will understand Africans more after attending the event. “There’s so many African countries, we are all different and diverse.”
There will be face painting, storytelling, poetry and music performances along with dancing and a fashion show.
“The ladies will come in their traditional (dress) and show them off and explain where they’re from. We’ve got ladies from different countries cooking different dishes which will be there on the tables to sample as well,” added Patricia.
There will be free food at the event with barbecue foods on offer along with African people presenting various cultural items.
This year sees Ireland’s largest-ever Africa Day programme, with events being held nationwide.
Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Sean Fleming commented:
“I am delighted to launch Africa Day 2023, a day when we recognise the growing cultural, trade and political links between Ireland and Africa. I welcome the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our local authorities and community groups in organising such a diverse mix of cultural and sporting events across the country to celebrate Africa Day.
“This year’s programme is the perfect showcase of the many talented people of African heritage we have living here in Ireland. It is also a day when people of all African backgrounds come together to celebrate the diversity of Africa. I hope people will get involved and enjoy Africa Day 2023.”
Africa Day which was formerly known as African Freedom Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation Charter of the Organisation of African Unity on May, 25 1963. The charter called for greater unity among African countries and supported their independence from colonialism and apartheid, and promoted economic and political cooperation.