On Great Suffolk Street was the free African Summer Festival in August with Black British and African musicians, art, food, retail stalls and kid activities.
This outdoor festival had that perfect African style environment with a joyful, exciting and friendly atmosphere. The community and family vibe instantly made you feel like you were in the heart of West Africa having puff puff and coconut water out of the coconut shell, whilst dancing azonto, with your friends and family, to the fabulous Afrobeat DJs. This was the perfect opportunity, once again, to celebrate the beauty of this continent and the people who have a positive impact for it.
It was called The Africa Centre Summer Festival and it seriously was amazing. An outdoor festival that took over Great Suffolk Street SE1 in London. I would go there every year now. 3 great DJs that played non-stop music and they were never out of sync, which instantly made you feel as if you were at a real African wedding in Lagos. I was right at home. The minute you stepped out of Southwark tube station you heard the music. Litterally come out of the station, walk straight to the end of the road and your at the music, art, food and fashion festival. It's as easy as that.
I look really geeky, I know but the first stall I went into was selling these glasses (no lenses inside), quirky jewellery and some clothes.
I thought why not try them on for a few seconds. They were so much fun on but because I wear proper spectacles they wouldn't be of any use to me. Anyone who's into the whole glasses and sunglasses trend, I suggest do get these.
Below were these two fun ladies I met at the festival, who had their own stalls and were selling bags, dolls, clothes, notebooks, artwork and many other things, I believe there was about 20 stalls and 15 pop-up food stalls too. As I walked I was dancing. As I was talking to a variety of people, I was dancing. Music was playing every minute non-stop. First it was Fela then WizKid then P-Squared and it kept on going, which was great as I'm all about music. The musical performances were split onto 3 stages- Black British Music Stage included Afrikan Boy, Natty, The Fedzs and Moeloga. African Music Stage included DJ Colourful Radio, Dele Sosimi & The Afrobeat Orchestra plus Seeds of Creation. Young African Centre Stage included Futures Yesterday, Malo and Josh Tennor.
Food... Now who doesn't like real, authentic West African, Jamaican, Sierra Leone and Senegalesse food? I do and when I say authentic, I mean authentic. Jerk chicken, Puff puff, fried plantain, jollof rice and chicken, cassava patties, fried yam, kenkey and sardines, egusi soup, coco bread, spiced bun, deserts, tropical drinks, fanta, sprite and lots more. Bala Baya, Chale! Lets Eat, Suya Spot,Little Baobab & Naija Infusions were some of the caterers at the event.
I asked for puff puff and my mum wanted fried yam. First the bubbly chef or should I call her cook? Used fresh ingredients and rolled the mixture for the puff puff right infront of me. Right next to her was a young lady, I say around her early thirties, said that Puff Puff is " golden balls of happiness" and I quote. We both smiled, were laughing and did a high five. We both felt like sisters. You know when your from the same culture to speak the same language with other people, you just feel connected. That's how it was like,
It's days like these that remind you how united Africa is when we are together and how we can express ourselves fully without being judged by others sometimes. Also, it's days like these that should remind us all that we shouldn't need to compete in the world. There is space for everyone in any industry but all you have to do is be your true self, express who you are and show of the wonderful talent and personality you have. That is all!
So far this is the best festival that shows the real aspects of West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana), Jamaica and Senegal. It has authentic food, art work, clothes, jewellery, real afrobeat music and great vibes. No African stuff mixed with some international bits. To me, not that it's wrong but why?