A celebration of African cultures, food, fashion, music and dance
TV presenter Esther Alade is hosting Africa on the Square on Saturday. She tells us her top five things she loves about African culture…
I’m really looking forward to Africa on the Square tomorrow. Last year’s event was brilliant. I’m so happy to be hosting it again this year. I love African culture. I host Naija Bites. It’s a cookery show which features celebrity guests who are unfamiliar with Nigerian cuisine.
I love sharing African culture with people. I believe Africa is on the rise. I feel at times people overlook the fact there are 54 beautiful countries in Africa, rich in resource and culture. What I love most is our diversity as a continent. So here are my top five things I love about African culture:
- I adore our rich colourful culture. Each country has its own unique way of life and traditions. As a nation, we Africans are very proud of our culture and heritage. We express our culture through food, fashion and music. We take this with us all over the world. What fascinates me the most is there are over 15,000 languages spoken in Africa. In fact, we speak over 500 just in Nigeria!
- I love everything thing about African food. There is such a variety of dishes from the continent, guaranteed to get the taste-buds tingling. From Jollof Rice to Amala and Efo Egusi which are signature dishes from Nigeria where I’m from to Ethiopian and Senegalese cuisines. The tastes of Africa are endless!
- Our fashion is just perfect! African fashion and style is so versatile and creative. There’s a catalogue of textiles, materials and prints from different parts of Africa. Ghanaians have their Kente print and Kenya’s kitenge fabrics. Beautiful head -ties called Gele in Yoruba. We have a lot talented designers from Africa who are so fresh with their styles. I thoroughly enjoy wearing and mixing my prints with everyday wear. One designer who truly inspires me Leekhaya she designed my outfits last year and again for this year. Check her out! http://www.leekhaya.com
- African music has grown fast over the last decade. It now has its own movement and following. The old skool likes of Sunny Ade and the late Fela Kuti are having a major influence on the new generation. We have a great Afrobeat genre and talented artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Names like Yemi Alade, Wizkid,R2bees, Sarkodie, Tiwa Savage and many more. Let’s not forget artists such as Brenda Fassie, Mafikizolo from South Africa and the Soweto gospel choir who are always pitch perfect. There’s just something about African music that connects to your soul.
- The impact of African dance on mainstream culture is endless. It is so on trend right now. Think of Beyoncé booty popping taken from African cultural waist shaking dance. Or Missy Elliott featuring a very popular dance called ‘Shoki’ which originally came from a Nigerian artist Olamide. You now have exercise classes around Africa dance, people just have to move to the sound of the drums. This is what I also love about Africa on the Square, with amazing artists performing live you can’t help but dance to the beat.
To experience all of the above, come and join us at Africa on the Square tomorrow!