Africa on the Square: a cauldron of creativity
The heart of Africa comes to the heart of London on Saturday 27 October. For the fifth year running, the Mayor’s Africa on the Square festival will bring a whole continent of culture to the famous square. This year we’re welcoming another 15 countries to the event and hope to soon be representing all 54 African nations. The event is a great way to show London Is Open to all cultures and communities, so come along to this cauldron of creativity for a fantastic free day out. There’s something for all Londoners, including live music, fashions, an African market, food stalls, and loads of fun stuff for kids. To give you a taste of what to expect, we talked to three traders about the amazing products they’ll be bringing on the day.
Kevin Sarkodie co-founded Purete Nature, a company that blends its own skincare products, candles, incense and scents from ingredients sourced from different African countries. One of the products – the ‘woodwick candle’ - contains a wick made from pinewood, a feature that creates a crackling sound when it burns like woodfire. It was inspired, Kevin says, by his recollections of growing up in Ghana, sitting round the fire for lack of distractions such as TV, and being mesmerised by the sound of the flames. Kevin describes AOTS as ‘an opportunity for people from the diaspora to showcase different products. Many come direct from source.’
Hot Banana London
Karina Bappa Ampomah set up Hot Banana London in early 2017 thanks to her ‘unapologetic addiction’ to ‘kelewele’. It’s a speciality of Ghana and the Ivory Coast and is made from fried plantain, ginger, peppers and spices. This mouth-watering dish, Ampomah says, is ‘impossible to resist - perfect on a cold wintry evening’. She adds, ‘It’s all about plant-based food. We’ve simply looked at African dishes that work very well without meat or fish then given them a lovely up-to-date twist. We use African ingredients like ‘widea-aba’, an African nutmeg, and ‘dawa dawa’, a locust bean to flavour our dishes. Co-created with Chef Duchess Nena, we can’t wait to bring these wonderful vegan African flavours to Trafalgar Square.’
Jona Quest Art
Jennifer Akinsuyi runs a contemporary gallery in Greenwich. She enjoys travelling to Africa and picking up pieces that represent the country they came from. For example, raffia jewellery boxes from Madagascar that offer a bold surprise when opened. Then there’s the statement jewellery of the Fulani tribe in west Africa. Or elegant bronze sculptures from Burkina Faso. By showcasing these works, Jennifer wants to tell a positive story about Africa. She says: ‘I can’t wait to bring my collection of African art and artefacts to a wider audience at the event’.
Come and visit Kevin, Karina and Jennifer – and other inspirational traders – at Africa on the Square!