The 2022 Africa Fest hosted by the UNC African Studies Center was a day filled with live music, dance performances and poetry in celebration of African culture, art and history.
Last Saturday, attendees gathered at the CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio on Franklin Street, a space run by Carolina Performing Arts, to enjoy three hours of programming from various artists and performers including DJ Bello, Black Umfolosi, CJ Suitt, Focus Dance, Zankiliwa, Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba.
The festival also featured an arts and craft station for attendees to create Africa-inspired memorabilia and Yagg Sii Tenn, a food truck that serves pan-African cuisine.
At the second annual Africa Fest to be held at UNC, Associate Director of the African Studies Center Ada Umenwaliri said her team had ample time to prepare and coordinate logistics since the 2021 event, which was held outdoors at the FedEx Global Education Center.
“Immediately after the last Africa Fest, I kind of locked down (CPA). It is an event space — it has features that we needed. The stage can be moved around. It has seating, it has sound and all the technical needs to help with sound production,” Umenwaliri said.
Adun Akinola, a UNC student who is part of Zankiliwa, said her experience performing at this year’s Africa Fest was exciting for the dance group.
“I’ve been performing with Zanki for a while–just feeling the tension, everyone’s gotta be here on time, all the hassle and back and forth to have such an amazing product—it's really nice. You’re up there, the adrenaline rushes, the crowd is engaging with you, and all the faces, all the energy–it's a really great experience to perform,” Akinola said.
It was the first time attending the festival for UNC sophomore Foluwa Agbebi.
“It was honestly really cool to see just a modern African dance group at UNC, far far away from the place where it originated,” Agbebi said.