MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A beloved cultural festival in downtown Memphis is wrapping up after four days of celebration and education.
The 36th annual Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival at Robert Church Park was a salute to the Republic of Rwanda. Vendors, many of them from Africa, were in Memphis selling their authentic goods.
“It’s a platform where you get authentic African products. Most of these products are from Africa,” said Mutarr Jallow, a vendor at the festival.
Saniya Smith said she has been coming to the festival for as long as she can remember.
“We’ve pretty much been here every year since birth,” said Smith.
Her dad said it has always been important for him and his family to shop black.
“We come out and shop and patronize our black people,” said Acventa Smith.
Some of the people we spoke with said another great reason to come, is to learn more about the culture.
“This is good for it all to be in one place and you get to have all these people with different experiences,” said Saniya.
“It is not just to buy food, or just to come and buy jewelry and gold. Now it is how best can we improve our traditions and our culture and our heritage,” said Jallow.
There were various mediums and themes throughout the week for everyone to enjoy. The event’s founder Yvonne Acey said after 36 years, it is great to still be bringing Africa to Memphis.
“We will bring Africa to the people. We are the people. Through the music, the dance, the gospel, the market place the cuisines crafts, and foods. We can bring Memphis to the world and share Memphis to Africa so it is kind of an exchange program,” said Acey.
This year’s Africa in April also featured Children and Senior Citizen’s Day, Health Wellness Family and Community Day, and International Music Day. As for next year, the planning for next year is already underway.