Pan-African Festival Held for Seventh Year
Mary Wells | 5/21/2009, 7:04 a.m.
The Seventh Annual Pan-African Festival 2009 was held at Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church in Bowie, Md. on Sat., May 16.
The Rev. Jonathan Weaver, church pastor and chair of the event said, "There was food, fun and fellowship for the entire family."
The Bowie church has established a tradition of cross-cultural exchange with Africa primarily through festivals, travel and charity. Rev. Weaver became transfixed with the African people when he first volunteered with Operation Crossroads Africa to build a medical clinic.
Today, he and his church have started a project called the Yawa Village Africa Project, Inc., through which they have adopted a village in Benin, Africa. A volunteer team has traveled there several times to help set up a school for 400 students with teachers and school supplies.
"This is a unique opportunity and we are the first AME church in this area to take up a project like this. It's not about having an event but about creating a movement and creating a global consciousness here in the Metropolitan area," Weaver said.
Despite the threat of rain, more than 3,000 people came to witness African drummers and dancers, African storytelling, an African fashion show, games, clowns, food from Africa, and panel discussions centered on the Caribbean and African Diaspora.
Cameroon native Josephine Atanga sang songs from her new DVD, €Heaven is Full of Joy," while accompanied by four female African dancers. Noelle Carine Bolou, who has lived in the U.S. 17 years from the Ivory Coast, read her poetry, which revealed her concern for the turmoil of her African people.
Cheryl White ran the arts and crafts table where participants were invited to make baskets, face masks and fans.
"I've been here every year for seven years,€ she said. €It is always so much fun."
The festival is sponsored by the Richard Allen Community Development Corporation in conjunction with Ralph Bazilio, president and COO, Thompson, Cobb, Bazillo & Associates; Her Excellency Dr. Imonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, Embassy of the Republic of Zambia; and His Excellency Raymond Joseph, Embassy of the Republic of Haiti.
Visit www.panafricanfestival.net for more information.