Afropunk Festival to come to Africa for the first time this year

First edition of Black culture's biggest festival on African soil

Words by Fisayo Okare

The very first contemporary festival was ‘Woodstock’ in the 60’s in the United States, expected to host 10,000 people, but ended up hosting half a million. Since then festivals have sprung up around the world, becoming nexuses for the contemporary cultures of generations around the world. In fact, the greatness of a culture can be experienced through its festivals. Some are more immersive than others, but for all festivals, unity is a core value. It reflects how we embrace living with diversity. And. There are festivals for almost anything, from religious festivals a la ‘Osun festival’ and ‘St. Patrick’s Day’, to food festivals of the ‘Onion market’ and ‘Eat Drink’ category, and music boasting of the ‘Coachella’ and ‘Gidi fest’ crowd machines among others.

And under three categories, embracing music, art and fashion, there is “Afropunk” –an event, which began with two creative minds, James Spooner and Matthew Morgan in a small town of New York City but has since spread to other cities. Afropunk defines culture. Arguably the most multi-culturally embracing festival in the U.S, it started with a classic documentary of the same name by James in 2003, where he spotlighted Black punks in America. But it has become a bigger deal, expanding to Atlanta and Paris in 2015, then London in 2016. The event has formed a reputation and the word itself is synonymous with open-minded people and an unconventional community. It still has plans to debut in other cities across the world, including South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg.

It will mark their first stop in Africa, where the word ‘Afro’ in Afropunk originates. It’s exciting to see this grand festival celebrate music and culture on the continent. Although the event primarily focuses on artists of African descent, it also embraces persons of all diversities. It is the place for people who maybe tagged the oddities, for their individualism and non-conformity to norms.

It was announced on Afropunk’s Instagram account that their African debut will take place in December. December maybe a while from now, but mark your calendars still and hold on. If you happen to be in London, Paris, Brooklyn or Atlanta you can experience the thrill of the festival just before then too. Check out their site here for dates, tickets and other information.

Featured Image: Instagram/@AfroPunk

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