Salone News

The 7th Annual African Festival in Lowell, Massachusetts,USA.

3 July 2007 at 23:25 | 224 views

Lowell, Massachusetts ,home of the African Festival is situated 45 minutes’ drive from Boston—capital of the state of Massachusetts. Lowell’s historical importance lies in the fact that it is the home of the industrial revolution in the USA. This was a mill city where cotton crops harvested in the slave south was yarned and manufactured into textile. The old mills still bestride this city which is divided by the Merrimack river. These hundred year old buildings are been converted into condominiums for rental purposes. As a result, whilst the housing problem remains acute in the city of Boston, outlying suburbs like Lowell and its environs are attracting Bostonians fleeing the high cost of housing and crime in the the black sections of Boston.

Lowell in the recent years has attracted many African residents from both in and out of state. The African festival which started seven years ago in 2000 has become very celebratory. June 30th ,2007 seems to have surpassed all previous ones. The festival portrays African culture in all its diversity: from North to South , and East to West of the African continent.For instance African cuisine was at its best,with dishes from allover the continent. In a restaurant I ate , the cookery was collaborative .Under a roof were Nigerians, Zambians and Kenyans. At another were Tanzanians, Zimbabweans and Ivorians. So it was all over the place. Cultural artefacts like beads, sculptor and African clothes were on dislay.

The musical jamboree that followed was a display of African songs and dancing in its various genre; from mbalax in Senegal , to dagga in Gambia and African hip hop from different African countries.As the music flooded the cool Massachusetts air ,Africans swivelled to the drum beats of Africa.

According to one of the organizers of the festival, David Fofanah:

’ The African festival has opened up an opportunity for Africanto unite with their African-American brothers
and sisters as they continue to influence
each other through the richness of their shared cultures.’

The festival is held annually under the auspices of the African Cultural Association, which pledges among other things that its menbers be " model citizens to both the motherland and the USA, obeying all laws of the land.

Photo: Part of Lowell.
Photo credit: City of Lowell.