Africa Fest 2021 an opportunity for people to experience the rich culture of Africa

After last year’s cancellation, Africa Fest 2021 organizers hope to bring the same party feeling back to McPike Park on Saturday August 21.

“Africa Fest is a wonderful opportunity for the community to experience African culture and traditions directly from the Africans who live here,” Ray Kumapayi, chairman of the Africa Fest planning committee, wrote in a press release. “Whatever the motivation to attend, one thing is guaranteed, and that is to experience a deeper appreciation of Africa and African people.”

The celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 202 S. Ingersoll St.

Annual Africa Fest Nations Parade
(Photo provided)

Events include the popular Parade of Nations, 3K/5K run/walk dubbed the “Strides for Africa”, food from at least six different food stalls, arts and crafts vendors and performances on the scene.

About 3,000 people attend the event to share African culture, he said. And one of the most popular events is the parade, where hundreds of people wave flags of all 54 African nations.

“Seeing this and being on stage and watching people from all walks of life carry a country’s flag makes me very proud of what we do,” Kumapayi said.

This year’s theme is familiar, highlighting the kingdoms of Africa, said Kumapayi, who is also president of the African Association of Madison, Inc.

Africa Day
(Photo: African Association of Madison, Inc. Facebook)

“There are so many kingdoms and great civilizations in Africa that it takes more than a year to introduce them all. Why don’t we continue to explore the theme that we started exploring in 2019,” Kumapayi said. .

Another big event is the Stride For Africa run/walk which will start at 10am to kick off the event. All proceeds from the event are used to build water wells in Africa.

“People would have to walk for miles to get fresh water for the springs,” Kumapayi said. “We have been able to build these wells in more than six countries in Africa. We work with people here who adopt children from Africa to collect these donations. All of these costs are devoted to the construction of the wells.

“And we hope to expand into other communities in rural Africa.”

In addition to regular events, there will also be a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The children’s tent and likely the “African Walk Through” tent will be scaled down, Kumapayi said, to ensure social distancing for attendees.

“We want to encourage people to get vaccinated so we can starve this virus,” he said.

The event takes over a year to plan and requires the help of various people, including the City of Madison, the event committee, and sponsors such as this year’s title sponsor, Madison Gas & Electric. Because the African Association of Madison, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, Kumapayi said the event could not take place without the help of the entire city.

“I invented Africa Fest as a celebration of Madison,” he said.

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