AFRO FESTIVAL 2021 – RECAP
This year's two-day Afro Festival ended on Sunday, June 27. Visitors of the Museum of African Art in Belgrade had the opportunity to enjoy the rich cultural and artistic program, taste various traditional dishes from the African continent, dance to the rhythm of Afro-beats, visit numerous stands with African arts and crafts, and participate in several creative workshops for children, as well as adults in the garden of the Museum in Senjak.
The management of the Museum and numerous festival partners are thrilled with the number of Festival visitors, especially considering that the Festival was one of the first large-scale city events to be organised in late June, despite numerous challenges brought on by the pandemic and with the slow “return to life” in the city.
Over the course of two days, a large number of visitors from Belgrade, the region and abroad, diplomats working in Belgrade and numerous African art and culture aficionados made their way to the Afro Festival, which was held in part in the building’s interior, but mostly in the Museum garden. Over the weekend, people were able to enjoy the sounds of the djembe drum, participate in mancala board game competitions, perform capoeira, participate in children's storytelling and art workshops, as well as public guided tours through the Museum of African Art displays.
The second day of the Afro Festival was as usual marked by Durbar Day – the Day of Friendship – which included the participation of African embassies in Belgrade – Algeria, Angola, Guinea, Egypt, Congo, Morocco, Tunisia and Namibia – who presented the richness of their countries through stands offering culinary specialties and a rich offer of African crafts and souvenirs.
Durbar Day also included the official opening of the Afro Festival whereat visitors were addressed by the Dean of African ambassadors, H.E. Abdelhamid Chebchoub, Ambassador of Algeria and Dean of the African Group of Ambassadors to Serbia and MAA’s Director Marija Aleksić. Emphasis was placed on the Afro Festival as a key gathering spot for the African community in Belgrade and that African countries will continue to enrich the museum's art collection and support the work of the only institution of its kind in the world that is based in a country that did not participate in the atrocious, inhumane act of colonising the African continent. “The Museum of African Art in Belgrade is a symbol of the friendship between Africa and Serbia and it is our duty to preserve it,” – said Ambassador Chebchoub.
Director Aleksić thanked all African embassies for their support over the years, her Museum team as well as festivalgoers, whose presence proved the significance of the MAA in Belgrade and their love of Africa. Director Aleksić stressed that the Afro Festival is the most important annual event of the Museum of African Art and announced that the Museum is planning its twenty-fourth edition in June 2022, with even more diverse music and art programs, events and contents.
Photos: Jelena Janković