Claiming to be the biggest Annual African Festival in Australia, promising an amazing, fun, festive and exciting day featuring “African Food, Culture, Music, Dancing, Drums and more,” the Africultures Festival is a one-day annual event held in Auburn Park, Auburn, a western Sydney suburb, with the aim of bridging the cultural gap and increasing the profile of Africans in Australia.
Having heard so much about the success of the festival in previous years, SALT Magazine became an event sponsor this year, and we were there to experience the day first hand. The festival is jointly organised by the City of Auburn and the Somali Welfare & Cultural Association, and Auburn Park came alive with colourful displays of arts, crafts, and fashion and the air was filled with mouth-watering aromas from a huge range of spicy flavoured food offerings, as the African Australian community and mainstream visitors in large numbers celebrated.
Special guests included Federal and State Members of Parliament, local Government representatives and leaders of many community organisations. The opening ceremony recapped the history of the festival which, in its seventh year, has developed to become one of the most engaging cultural events in Sydney.
The Hon Senator Concetta Fierravanti, Parliamentary Secretary of Multicultural Affairs, said, “ It’s so good to see so many people out and about not just for this wonderful festival but in anticipation of what we are going to celebrate next week which is harmony day”.
Up and coming performing artist Gazelle, said it was her first time performing at the festival, and in the two years since she last attended she thought it had grown so much “and the turnout is crazy”.
Amongst the ‘craziness’ was a full blown soccer tournament between many of Sydney’s African communities – the Africultures Trophy eventually being won by the Sierra Leone team after a finals play off with Congo.
We asked one of the event’s organizers, Adama Kamara, a Community Projects Officer at Auburn City Council, for the secret of staging such a well-organized and orchestrated event. “Just a lot of planning and engaging with the communities,” she said, “And most of all, it’s all about planning way ahead of time. In fact we are already looking at next year’s event which will be moved to bigger location to accommodate the ever growing community.”
Councilor George Campbell from the Auburn City Council summed up the event, saying, “What the African community is doing here today is putting on a show for everyone to enjoy.”
It was indeed a memorable event and SALT Magazine looks forward to again be involved with next year’s festival.