In a bright room at St Paul’s African House in Shepparton, children move to the rhythm of the Afrobeat.
Preparations are well underway for the fifth day of the “A Taste of African Cultures” festival, which begins on Saturday May 15th.
The festival was born out of consultation with local Africans, who wanted a space to present their culture to the community of Shepparton and break down barriers of fear and racism.
And a space to express that Africa is more than a continent and is home to 54 countries of diverse cultural, linguistic and religious origins.
St Paul’s African House Partnerships and Programs Manager Kate Radevski encouraged “everyone in the community” to come and celebrate Shepparton’s many African cultures.
“It’s going to be a great day with the family,” she said.
“We have been preparing for months and look forward to sharing with you all the fun, sights, sounds and tastes of Africa.”
The six-hour festival program is packed, including traditional and contemporary performances from young children and passionate adults.
Beginning with a Welcome to Country from the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, performances will include parades of African dance, song and fashion, as well as a range of booths showcasing African businesses, food vendors and local community services. .
St Paul’s African House Deputy Director of Partnerships and Programs, Gracia Musafiri, is an exhibitor who will celebrate her African culture through her small business.
Its operation of candles “Lumière et Grace”, meaning “light and grace” in French, opened this year.
“I have always loved candles and being creative,” she said.
“I knew I wanted to have my own business – so I thought, why not start making candles at home.”
A fundraising barbecue for a church, school and medical center to be built in Burundi will also offer sausages in bread and soft drinks.
For children, drum and dance workshops are planned, alongside the AFL team Goulburn Murray, painter and sculptor Nickel Mundabi and a Save the Children playbus.
The African Focus team will also be available the same day to help members of the African community respond to a community survey offering interpretation services in Swahili, French, Arabic, Dinka, Kinyamulenge and Kirundi.
A Taste of African Cultures will begin at 1 p.m. at 54 Poplar Avenue, Shepparton.
Free entry. Contact [email protected] for more information.