今のアフリカ祭り / Ima no Africa Festival

Last weekend (16 & 17 June 2018) I volunteered at the 今のアフリカ / Ima no Africa Festival held at Hibaya Park in Tokyo. It was organised by the African Diplomatic Corps (ADC) in Japan, which is supported by 38 African embassies.

Every day all the volunteers received a briefing.
Every day all the volunteers received a briefing.

I took the night bus from Kobe after a meeting with a fellow ABE Initiative participant on the Thursday (14 June) evening and arrived the next morning early in Tokyo. During the course of Friday I helped finalise the logistical preparation for the festival.

Minister Kōno behind the podium.
Minister Kōno behind the podium.

On the Saturday (16 June) morning the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Tarō Kōno gave a speech at the festival. He was accompanied by various ambassadors and other dignitaries. He translated his speech to both Japanese and English by himself. I was quite impressed by how good his English is.

Recording Minister Kōno's speech.
Recording Minister Kōno's speech.

I served in the video camera crew. I learned a lot about cameras in the process.. as well as mastering the art of recording while holding an umbrella!

South African Ambassador Thulani Dlomo. Our beards almost look similar!
South African Ambassador Thulani Dlomo. Our beards almost look similar!

During the afternoon, all the African ambassadors and Japanese dignitaries enjoyed a lunch at a VIP tent. I had the pleasure of removing all the dirty plates and glasses. During the process, I met the South African Ambassador Thulani Dlomo. Very friendly guy!

The South African food stall.
The South African food stall.

The festival included a large food and beverage area where ordinary people like me could eat and drink. The area featured stalls from all across the continent and had a very joyous atmosphere. It felt like a Little Africa!

South African arts and crafts stall.
South African arts and crafts stall.

Near the food and beverage area, there were also arts and crafts stalls from various African countries.

Dance lesson.
Dance lesson.

On the Sunday (17 June), there were activities for children, including dancing and drumming lessons. The children and their parents loved it!

There were also promotion booths from 31 different African countries (see photos below). The booths provided a wonderful opportunity, not only for Japanese, but also for Africans to learn about Africa's beautiful diversity.

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