African fest mixes music with issues
The rhythm and cultures of Africa will be celebrated this weekend when the inaugural African Youth Festival arrives at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall.
The Ghanaian Association of New Zealand, with support from the Lottery Grants Board, has organised the festival, which will include performances by Taste of Africa, the Zoh Zoh Ensemble and rap group Deff Beat.
Auckland mayor John Banks will speak at the event, along with Ethnic Affairs Minister Pansy Wong.
A dance party featuring a DJ playing African music will follow the performances and speeches, says Ghanaian Association president Charles Dwamena.
Dr Dwamena, a research scientist who has lived in Auckland for 14 years, says one of the festival’s objectives is to create a forum discussing issues affecting African youth in New Zealand. Dr Dwamena says the western media’s portrayal of Africa as “a land of waste” undermines the confidence young Africans living in New Zealand have in their cultural identity.
Yaw Boateng, lead vocalist and drummer for the Zoh Zoh Ensemble, says three members of the group will perform at Sunday’s event.
The festival will help to give the public a wider view on Auckland’s African youth, says Mr Boateng, who is also originally from Ghana.
Mr Boateng agrees that the media gives some Kiwis a warped view of what Africa is really like, and says the festival will help create public awareness about the continent.
The African Youth Festival will run from 4pm until midnight on Sunday at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, 773 New North Rd.