Thursday, July 16, 2015

Afrifest 2015, August 1

Planning for Afrifest continues apace, as the date of the festival, August 1, approaches. The board of the Afrifest Foundation held a final teleconference on July 16 to review progress.

Our plans have continued to take shape, not only in the broad outlines I mentioned in a previous blog post, but also in the specifics. The City of Brooklyn Park, which has stepped in as a sponsor of the festival, has already started publicizing the festival in various media and avenues, in addition to paying for t-shirts. The KMOJ radio station has been broadcasting a memorable advert.

We will have soccer matches, vendors, and children's games. On my part, in addition to displaying my books and talking about my work as an author, educator, and cultural consultant, and in addition to offering a panoramic view of the global African experience, I will also share African folktales. This is a new thing for Afrifest. Using traditional tales, such as Matengo Folktales, I will offer a taste of the African contribution to world culture. Traditional tales embody and express the African ways of thinking about life, the human condition, relationships, and values.

I will share something else congruent with the mission of Afrifest. For some years, I have been studying Ernest Hemingway and discovering his life-long interest in and respect for Africa. He exemplifies the kind of ideals Afrifest stands for, especially understanding, respecting, and appreciating different cultures.

Readers and fans of Hemingway might be interested to know that they will soon be able to see a documentary, "Papa's Shadow," which features me in conversation with Patrick Hemingway, the only remaining child of Hemingway--now 88 years old--about Hemingway's life, his philosophy, his travels in East Africa and his writings based on those travels.

Afrifest is more than a cultural event in the conventional sense. It fosters understanding of Africa and the African Diaspora through exhibits and performances. A family event not to be missed, Afrifest will be held on August 1, 2015, from 10am to 9pm, at the Northview Junior High School, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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