Many of us know Africa due to info coming from newspapers or TV news. Some of us went to an African country to do a volunteering project or to do an exchange program with university. Africa has been always representing a fascinating continent with its wild nature and its different traditions and stories. It is impossible to know all about them at once, but in Hamburg there is an initiatives that allows us to get an inspiring insight of what Africa means. From the 25th to the 28th of May, the city of Hamburg hosted a multicultural festival called "Africa Day".
This event was born in 2012 and since that, it has been held at the Wandsbeck Marktplatz. The choice of the 25th as starting day is not random, but instead it has a precise aim: commemorating the founding of the organization of the African Unity, set on the 25th of May 1963. This organization promotes the cooperation of African states in order to improve the life-quality of African people and to start socioeconomical partnerships among themselves (for those who are interested in further information about the African Unity, here is an useful link: www.au.int).
Keeping in mind the spirit and the goals of this institution, the "Africa Day" festival offered several opportunities to show to its visitors (more than 10'000 in the past two years) the different cultures of Africa. The choice of Hamburg as hosting city lies on the big African community present; indeed, about 54'000 people from the African continent are currently living here. The main organization behind this event is the Intercultural Migrant Integration Center, whose president is Sylvaina Gerlich. She reminded the importance of the "Africa Day" as an initiative which gives the chance to discuss how to improve the cooperation between the city of Hamburg and the African community. Moreover, this festival was financed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and associations such as "Africa Radio Germany", the African Christian Council Hamburg, and enterprises such as SALO PARTNER.
This year in particular, the event was opened with an Africa Day Investment Forum which took place on the 24th of May. This meeting was aimed to connect more intensively the city of Hamburg to Africa in terms of economic and social agreements. Speakers coming from both political and economic sector discussed about how to strengthen this network between entrepreneurs and political decision-makers in order to have the concrete possibilities of creating joint ventures which offer job opportunities. Ministers from countries such as Ghana, Uganda and Guinea, professors from African universities and directors of companies or organizations working in Africa talked about important daily topics such as health and social affairs, agriculture, energy and water. These issues had been discussed for the all festival, due to their evergreen relevance, especially as Hamburg is going to host the G20 this year.
Aside these conferences, "Africa Day" is above all a colourful and multicultural initiative, wherein people who are in Hamburg explore the peculiarity of each African country. Several information stalls were opened, combined with photo exhibitions which allowed visitors to have an insight on the amazing nature or the traditions present over there. Furthermore, they could try tasty culinary dishes and drinks or assist to traditional dance groups or music bands who made the atmosphere very cozy and full of positive vibes. Also an African market was set: from artisan jewelry to the traditional clothes and shoes with their shining and cheering colors, everything representing a part of the African continent.
Once again, the city of Hamburg showed its international spirit hosting a festival like the "Africa Day", whose connecting spirit reflects a mix of traditions, cooperation with the local community and willingness of improving this bound.