Africa Day 2014 takes place this Sunday May 25 across Ireland, with events planned around Galway city and county to celebrate African diversity and the cultural and economical potential of the the continent.
Supported by the Galway City Council, Irish Aid, and the Government’s programme for overseas development, Africa Day in Galway will feature a variety of events in the days leading up to it, including the Galway African Film Festival, Africa Day Doughiska, and two educational school-based initiatives provided by Galway City Partnership. The theme of Africa Day this year is ‘Partners for Growth’, which aims to shine a light on the opportunities that exist between Ireland and the continent of Africa for developing partnerships and collaboration.
African film showcase
The events were launched last Monday at the Town Hall Theatre by the Mayor of Galway city, Padraig Conneely. Following short addresses from Mayor Conneely, Carmel Madden of Irish Aid, and Joe O’Neill of the Galway City Council, the launch saw the premiere of a short community video about the meeting of a group of artists with intellectual disabilities and an intercultural African group from Ballybane, directed by Gaie Stewart of the Brothers of Charity Services and Elske Bhreathnach of ARD family resource centre. Heike Vornhagen of the Galway African Film Festival then showcased a selection of African films which will be screened during the festival.
The seventh annual Galway African Film Festival will include a line-up of features, shorts, documentaries, and children’s films, thereby ensuring variety and diversity of views. The event in itself is educational and challenges stereotypes about the African continent, its peoples, cultures, and histories. Information about gender and tradition, human rights, diversity, and migration will be distributed to the audience through specific leaflets related to the subject matter of the respective films. The event will be organised by the African Film Festival in collaboration with the Galway One World Centre, Galway Film Society, Community Knowledge Initiative, Galway Film Centre and Galway City Council from Friday May 23 to Sunday May 25, and all screenings will take place at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media. For trailers of the main feature films, visit www.advertiser.ie/galway in the What’s On section.
Africia Day Doughiska is an event which looks to celebrate Africa's rhythms, culture, and food, taking place at Merlin College Secondary School, Doughiska, on Saturday May 24, from 2pm to 5pm. Approximately 20 per cent of the Doughiska, Roscam/Ardaun population are of African descent according to the last Census, and a working group made up of leaders from the various African communities who are based in the area will plan and exceute the event in collaboration with staff from the ARD Family Resource Centre. The event starts with a parade through the streets of Doughiska made up of representatives from the various African communities who are based in the area, and there will be some time for people to mingle and sample finger foods from different African countries. This will be followed by several acts, including live music from a locally based African band, dance acts and poetry from children from Ghana and Nigeria, a speech on the theme of what it is to be African, and an educational exhibition from Irish Aid and groups from different African countries. For the children there will be facepainting and children's entertainment.
Intercultural school project
Finally, Galway City Partnership will deliver two educational, school-based, initiatives for Africa Day 2014 including an intergenerational Africa-Ireland project comprising a 40 minute dialogue between two women; one from Active Retirement Galway and one from an intercultural group in Galway city to bring their experiences going to school in Galway and Africa in the 50s and 60s. The primary school intercultural project has been running a series of events during the two weeks running up to Africa Day, with children and parents of the After Schools Project. The events are located in the Ballybane Community Resource Centre, and the workshops introduce the children to different types of African dance and music and also workshops in costume making and African dress.
For more information on the Africa Day events, visit www.africaday.ie