Minister Peter Power, T.D., Launches Programme for Africa Day 2009

A festival-style event in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens is just one of over 30 events taking place throughout the country over the coming weeks to celebrate Africa Day 2009. Africa Day is an initiative of the African Union.  It falls on 25th May each year and celebrates African diversity and success and the cultural and economic potential of the continent. 

Unveiling this year’s programme for Africa Day in Ireland, the Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D., said today:

“I am very proud to launch such a rich programme of events to mark Africa Day in Iveagh Gardens and throughout Ireland. The line-up of performances, fun family events, lectures and readings is truly spectacular.  I want to encourage people of all ages throughout the country to come out and enjoy the many free events planned for Africa Day.  The vast majority of performers and community groups involved in the celebrations are giving their time and energy for free. This is a great opportunity to join with people from all over Africa in celebrating their cultures and traditions.

Ireland has very strong connections to Africa, through the work of Irish missionaries and non-governmental organisations, through growing Government and business links and through our vibrant African community.  Ireland’s overseas development assistance effort is strongly focused on sub-Saharan Africa.  I am delighted that Irish Aid is in a position to support these events, promoting awareness of the development programme and of the countries with which we work”.
 
Irish Aid’s ‘Africa Day @ Iveagh Gardens’ takes place in Dublin on Sunday, 24 May from 12 noon to 8pm. The event will include a main stage, featuring high-profile African and Irish musicians; a cultural corner; food-tasting; an African Bazaar, sports activities, and arts and crafts.  Admission to the event is free of charge, and visitors to the event are advised to use public transport.  The event entrance is on Clonmel Street (off Harcourt Street, Dublin 2).

Other Africa Day events taking place around the country include a family day in the grounds of City Hall in Limerick on Sunday, 17th May; film festivals in Dublin, Louth and Galway; soccer tournaments in Dundalk and Monaghan; and a music and cultural festival in Cork; and a lecture on ‘Africa Moving Forward’ in Trinity College on Monday, 25th May.

The programme of events for Africa Day 2009 is being supported by Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development programme.  Full information on all events is available on www.irishaid.gov.ie

KEY EVENTS TO MARK AFRICA DAY IN DUBLIN’S IVEAGH GARDENS

‘Africa Day @ Iveagh Gardens’ in Dublin, which takes place on Sunday, 24th May, will showcase the diversity of African food, music and traditions.  The event will be family-focused, with specific elements for children, including storytelling, sports and art activities.

‘Africa Day @ Iveagh Gardens’ will mark the culmination of over 30 events, supported by Irish Aid, taking place around the country to mark Africa Day 2009. 
The full programme for the Iveagh Gardens event was announced today (12.05.09) by the Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power TD.
The event runs from 12 noon until 8pm, and entry is free of charge.  Access will be through the Clonmel Street entrance to Iveagh Gardens (off Harcourt Street), and visitors are advised to use public transport to travel to the venue, as parking will be severely limited in the area.

The following are some of the main features of ‘Africa Day @ Iveagh Gardens’:

Music
Headlining the main stage will be world-renowned Vieux Farka Touré, son of legendary Malian signer Ali Farka Touré.  The latest addition to the main stage programme is Malawian chart-topper Kenny Gilmore, an 'Anglo-Afro-American' harmonica player and singer, who got his taste for music by picking up a harmonica in Malawi at 18 years of age and travelling all the way to New Orleans, USA, to learn how to play it.

Special guests on the main stage will include Cathy Davey; Kíla, who return to the event after participating in Africa Day celebrations last year; Irish-based Congolese musician Niwel Tsumbu; Liam Ó Maoinlaí; Frances Black and some very special acts (to be announced closer to the event).  The Discovery Gospel Choir and Stone & Jezreel will also feature throughout the day. 

African Bazaar
Numerous African countries will showcase elements of their culture and traditions in the African Bazaar.  Among the activities taking place in this section of the event will be a mock village wedding, performed by the Association of Malawians in Ireland; a traditional coffee-making ceremony hosted by the Ethiopian Embassy; performances of traditional dance and music by the Guinean Society and drumming demonstrations by the Uganda Association of Ireland. 

Meanwhile, the Egyptian, South African and Nigerian embassies will offer food sampling, while art and crafts will be displayed by the Kenyan, Lesotho and Ghanaian embassies.

Food
Apart from the free food samples in the African Bazaar area, visitors will be offered Heart of Africa dried fruits and nuts for sampling at various locations in the venue.  Food can be purchased from the Silk Road Café restaurant and Safari Foods.  Offerings will include Safari suya (African kebab); Safari mangrove fish (roasted fish); Safari chicken suya (barbeque chicken); African jollof rice (red rice), and Safari boli (roasted plantain with banana).  Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic to the event, and there will be a designated picnic area in the venue.

Spoken Word
The spoken word section will include a discussion on sport in Africa and Ireland, hosted by Zimbabwean-born journalist and blogger, Itayi Viriri; reflections on travelling through Africa by travel writer, Manchán Mangan; a discussion on opportunities for sustainable development in Africa with UCD Professor, Frank Convery; and an exploration of African music with Lyric FM’s Gerry Godley.

Kids’ Stuff
Children will be able to make hieroglyphic bookmarks, African masks and rain-sticks during art workshops at the event.  Meanwhile, African for All will facilitate African board game competitions: the board game that will be in use is sometimes referred to as the ‘African national game’ because of its immense popularity. 

Storytelling workshops will be based on a soon-to-be-published book called 'Horses and Tortoises', which is being compiled by the Hugh Lane Gallery and some of the women from AkiDwA, the African Women’s Network.  The workshops will explore fables and children's stories from Africa, and children will have the opportunity to create African-inspired origami animals.

To celebrate African families working with the organisation both overseas and in Ireland, Trócaire will host jigsaw-making activities.  Visitors will be invited to try their hand at putting a giant jigsaw together, while blank mini-jigsaws will also be available, on which young visitors can draw their own families and – afterwards – bring their newly-created jigsaws home.

Sport
In a specially designated sports zone, the AfroIrish Kideo Youth Club will host a traditional African game called '25'. Participants will be placed on two teams: one team will have players at either end of the pitch and the other teams' players will be inside the pitch.

Meanwhile, SARI, the FAI, the GAA and the Camogie Association will host skills demonstrations and mini-competitions throughout the day.  Activities will be geared towards both adults and children.  Prizes will include ‘Africa Day 2009’ t-shirts, donated by Edun Live.

Other activities will include ‘Exteme Trampoline’; queues for this activity will be inevitable!

Arts and Crafts
Traditional African art and crafts and a photo exhibition will occupy the exhibition area.  Some stalls will be in place whereby crafts can be purchased.

ENDS

Contact: Event organizers, Catherine Heaney / Martina Quinn, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4885808 / 087-2309835 / 087-6522033

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