By Babirye Aidha
Covent Garden’s iconic Piazza was given a colorful makeover on Saturday, August 1st from 12pm to 10:00pm to celebrate The Africa Centre’s flagship annual summer festival ‘August in Africa.’
This free event saw people from all walks of life with an interest in African culture came out to celebrate art, music and literature. The best of Africa was revealed – from exhibitions, workshops (for all ages), pop-up fashion, dance performances and live entertainment were topped off with delicious African food.
There was also a chance to explore the theme of portraiture through contemporary photography and a chance to join photographer Javier Hirschfeld who discussed the inspiration behind his images and explore Africa’s photography and its rich history.
The entertainment began with Simo Lagnawi, the king of Gnawa music from Morocco, who treated the public to his trance-inducing music. This was followed by Hip hop artist Ali Kamara’s energetic and thought provoking lyrics. Studio Afro Latino had the crowd on their feet with their Kizomba and Afro dance while Taali M serenaded us with her combination of reggae mixed with traditional chants and rhythms.
Emeka Elendu, former guitarist for Fela Kuti presented Kalakuta- a tribute band to the late Fela Kuti. Bonga entranced us from start to finish with his raspy powerful voice.
The young crowd were treated to Fuse ODG whose TINA (This is New Africa) movement urges African to rebuild communities and present a positive image of the motherland to the rest of the world. He performed his feel good tunes such as ‘Million Pound Girl’, ‘Antenna’, ‘Azonto’ – a track that went viral with over 12 million views and his latest track ‘Only in Africa’; but the star of the night was Asa. The Parisian born Nigerian singer/songwriter regaled the crowd with her old school soul music. She killed it!
In short, the atmosphere was great, the sun was out, loads of families about and African outfits lovingly worn, on display. The crowd was entertained by DJs Aina Roxx and Oya Bun who played the latest Afro beat tracks. It was great! By the end of the night my feet hurt after standing for 8 hours but I was ecstatic. My favourite though was Asa’s performance and she shut it down!! When I left, all I could hear from people is that they are going straight to iTunes to buy her albums!
This festival is a must do and a must see!
Babirye Aidha is a fashion enthusiast based in London, UK. Follow her on Instagram.