The Afro Festival is a cultural event organized annually by the Museum of African Art. Inaugurated in 1997, this program is unique, both in our country and the wider region, and one of its most recognizable traits is the atmosphere of a true cosmopolitan festivity. The message that the Festival communicates is the appreciation of cultural diversity and presentation of cultural heritage as a means of promoting multicultural understanding in today's world.
The Afro Festival includes exhibitions, lectures, screenings of films that deal with various topics related to the arts and cultures of Africa, music, dance and art workshops, as well as public viewings of the Museum collections. Programs are realized with the participation of lecturers and experts in the field of African studies and museology, university professors, artists, writers, students and friends of the Museum.
The festival is rich in music events, which is quite telling of the role traditionally ascribed to music, as an inseparable part of everyday life in Africa. The guests and performers of the Afro Festival have been, among others, world music stars: Stella Rambisai Chiweshe, world-known mbira player from Zimbabwe, Habib Coité and the group Bamada, world music artists from Mali, Vershki da Koreshki group, world musicians which blend Indian and African sounds, Tunde Komolafe, traditional dancer from Nigeria, Kemo Soundioulou Cissoko, musician playing traditional Senegalese instruments.
The culmination of the Festival is Durbar day – a “Festival of Festivals”, the day of friendship, music and dance. With the participation of the African embassies in Belgrade, and in the beautiful setting of the exterior of the Museum, the whole day is dedicated to the celebration of African music, dance, arts and crafts. Visitors enter the rich African world through symbols such as the kente from Ghana, kasai velvet of Congo, the djelabu and kaftan from the north of Africa, colourful arabesques from Egypt, indigo textiles from Guinea, printed textiles from Angola, and also the stories and legends of heroes and warriors, cosmogonies from the dawn of time. With the courtesy of the African diplomatic community the visitors are able to enjoy the culinary specialities from different parts of Africa. Specially arranged boots featuring art, crafts, textile, jewellery and colorfully weaved carpets contribute to the spirit of the festival which provides an unforgettable glimpse into the cultural treasures of Africa.