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Review: August in Africa Festival 2015

August kicked off with great weather and even better music at the August in Africa festival in Covent Garden, the Africa Centre’s free annual celebration of the continent’s rich and diverse contemporary culture.

Throughout the day, the festival hosted live music, diverse food stalls and and activities for the both children and adults including Afroluso dance lessons, photo studios, lomography workshops, nail art and henna.

A highlight was the fashion show by Vou Brown, a London-based contemporary African boutique which showcased a stunning selection of African-inspired designs on the runway. However, the fashion was not limited to the catwalk, with the festival being flooded with a fantastic array of colours, prints and designs. I particularly enjoyed the market filled with African-inspired clothing, jewellery, shoes and prints, a welcome change to the culturally-insensitive ‘ethnic’ prints that are so popular in high-street stores.

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On the main stage, The Story Within, a digital exhibition, celebrated African portraiture since the 1960s with the work of  photographers such as Malick Sidibé, Mario Macilau and Aida Muluneh.

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The highlight of the festival was undoubtedly the music. The afternoon featured artists such as hip-hop artist Alim Kamara and Angolan Semba singer Bonga, while DJ Oya Bun’s mixes kept us entertained between sets. In the evening, it was the big names that stole the stage. Fuse ODG treated the crowd to hits like Antenna and Million Pound Girl, while also laying down a hard-hitting critique of the charity sector’s portrayal of Africa and the need for movements like This Is New Africa (TINA) which celebrate the continent. The evening concluded with crowd-favourite Asa, a Parisian born Nigerian singer songwriter, who made it clear to any who were in doubt, why she is known as a legend in the making.

August In Africa was a welcome addition to London’s thriving summer festival scene. Next year, we hope to see a bigger venue to match its increasing popularity.

Check out #AugustInAfrica15 on Twitter or visit africacentrefestival.com  for more.

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