Louth County Council in partnership with Culture Connect hosted the first ever event to celebrate World Africa Day in Dundalk on Wednesday 25th May.
Africa Day, which fell on Wednesday, 25th May, celebrates the richness of African cultures and the contribution of people of African descent to Irish life.
Africa Day celebrations are organised by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs in partnership with African embassies in Ireland and local authorities around the country.
Held at the Friary Youth Club Centre in Dundalk the launch event featured an exhibition of African traditional clothing, food tasting, music and guest speakers from the African community.
Opening the event Flora Okobi of Culture Connect remarked at how important it was to recognise the work of Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the role that the African community has to play within Ireland today.
Guest speaker, Dr Colletta Dalikeni also talked about the strong African relationship in Ireland.
Dr Dalikeni, a lecturer in DKIT, re-enforced the importance of cross cultural work and how respect and inclusivity is vital in today’s world.
Finally Dr. Medua Okonkwo relayed stories of how Africans have contributed to Ireland in the past number of years.
Music was supplied on the day by Ines Khai, along with Congo music from Dan Apo and Nigeria Music from Vivienne Wilcox. We also had a theatre performance from the African Centre in Dundalk.
There was a fine display of African Art and Clothing and the event was finished off with a range of West African food from African Kitchen & Spice, with specialities from several different African regions.
A second event, a Family Fun Day is to be held on Sunday 29th May in St Peters Parish Hall in Drogheda and will include more food tasting, music, a fashion show and hair styling workshops.
This year sees Ireland’s largest-ever Africa Day programme, with events being held nationwide. Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy TD, said:
“Ireland has been enriched in so many ways by the presence of a vibrant African community. Ireland’s arts, culture, business, community development, sport and so much more have been strengthened by people of African origin or descent.
Africa Day is about recognising that contribution and celebrating the culture and potential of the continent as a whole.”
For more information visit www.AfricaDay.ie and www.createlouth.ie/events
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