African culture to be celebrated this month

May 12, 2013 by  

Footscray will ring to the sound of African beats this month with a special new festival to celebrate the culture of the continent.

The inaugural Emerge in the West Street Party will be held next weekend to mark the start of the Emerge Festival run by Multicultural Arts Victoria.

The party, which has been organised in conjunction with Maribyrnong City Council, will celebrate the culture of the many African people who have made Footscray their home.

Entertainment on the main stage will include African dance, reggae music, Ethiopian jazz and traditional drumming. A marketplace will fill the area with the smells of Africa including cooking classes, traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies and ethnic foods. Crafts and homeware items will also be on sale among the stalls.

There will also be a fashion parade featuring traditional and contemporary African dress, and local guide Bersanji Ibrahim will take festival-goers on a walking tour of the area, revealing sights and stories with which even locals may not be familiar.

The colourful events should make for fantastic photographs and keen snappers might like to consider getting a print company to make enlargements of some photos to display as artwork or in a book to record the event.

The street party will run from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 18, in Nicholson Street between Paisley Street and Irving Street. Entry is free. For more information, visit the Emerge Festival website.

The festival itself will continue until Wednesday, July 31, with events across Melbourne including music and dance performances, food festivals and demonstrations of traditional ceremonies.