A taste of Africa comes to the North East

15 September 2014


IT WILL BE a case of out of Africa and into Sunderland this weekend (Sept 19 -20), as the city embarks on a celebration of the continent.

The African Festival has been timed to coincide with the launch of the hit musical, The Lion King, which opens at the Sunderland Empire this week.

Two days packed with entertainment has been put together by Sunderland Experience It Here, the city’s Business Improvement District, in and around the Minster.

The festival will kick off at 6pm on Friday with a free performance by The Mighty Zulu Nation Warriors followed by a host of musical entertainment and Discovery Zoo activities for young people, bringing to life the various animals that live in the world’s rain forests.

On September 20 a packed programme of entertainment will take place throughout the day including Pan African drummers, fashion shows, Dance Jam and a number of performances by the Zulu warriors.

Sunderland AFC’s strong links with Africa will also be evident on the day, with a speed cage and African-inspired tricks and flicks sessions for young people to get involved with.

The Minster’s yurt will also host drumming sessions on Saturday, open to anyone if booked in advance, followed by an opportunity to play African games.

Throughout the weekend there will be a number of stalls selling snacks, African jewellery and African food, while chefs for SAFC will be giving a range of cookery demonstrations of African style dishes.

“We’ve put together a really exciting programme of activities with something of interest to everyone,” said Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive for Sunderland BID. The African Festival builds on the fantastic coup of bringing The Lion King to Sunderland, but also on the strong connections Sunderland has with Africa through the university and SAFC.

 “This is a real opportunity for the whole city and visitors to really embrace another culture at a time when we’ve got one of the most exciting shows in the world in Sunderland.”

Anyone wanting to book a place on the Discovery Zoo –Rainforest Workshops or the Hilaire Drumming Workshops can do so by emailing [email protected].

The full programme for the weekend is available at www.facebook.com/sunderlandexperience.