Africa Utopia

This month the SouthBank centre is hosting Africa Utopia – a festival celebrating the best of African arts, literature, music, fashion. There will be talks and debates too so there are plenty of activities for you to get stuck into as the UK’s capital city, London, prepares for the Olympics.

We’ve picked our selection of the festival’s highlights:

Ice Prince to headline the Ultimate Afrobeats Utopia

Ice Prince to headline the Ultimate Afrobeats Utopia Club Night
On July 21st, Afrobeats sensation, Ice Prince will be headlining the Ultimate Afrobeat Utopia night at the Southbank Centre. The night features BBC Radio 1/1Xtra’s DJ Edu, award-winning DJ Neptizzle and Afro House specialist Sef Kombo playing the hottest Naija Pop, Azonto Rhythms, Kuduro, Kizomba and the funkiest beats from around the continent. Be prepared for a hot night of dancing.

Africa on the Catwalk
A selection of exciting fashion designers who originate from Africa or are inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Africa.  Designers include Bestow Elan (Ghana/UK), Chichia London (Tanzania/UK), Eki Orleans (Nigeria/UK), Madam Wokie (Sierra Leone), Kezia Frederick (UK), and MO SAÏQUE Shoes (Ghana/UK).

Knight Watch
In rich poetry, and with a live soundtrack from drummer Aki Fujimoto and flautist Mikey Kirkpatrick, the poet and performer Inua Ellams (The 14th Tale, Black T-shirt Collection) conjures the violence of a city not unlike London and imagines a more beautiful world beyond it

Knight Watch by Inua Ellams [image Sheila Burnett]

Imagining Africa: A Granta Salon
Writers and artists including Yinka Shonibare MBE, Aminatta Forna, Diriye Osman and Michael Salu come together to explore how the realities of life across the continent find expression through art, film and writing. Hosted by Granta magazine.

Nollywood or Bust: Africa at the Movies
Join editor of African Screens and TV director of the Nollywood movie awards Don Omope, David Somerset, curator of the BFI’s African Odyssey season, co-producer of ‘Town of Runners’ Daniel Demissie, film writer for ‘Africa is A Country’ Basia L Cummings and film maker Sheila Nortley as they discuss the future of African cinema.

Afrikan Yoga
The founder of the Afrikan yoga method, Pablo Imani, leads a unique yoga class to the rhythm of a beating African drum.

Funmi Olawumi
A solo show from Funmi Olawumi, leader of the legendary Yoruba Women’s Choir. She steps out at the head of cracking 12-piece band featuring the four-piece harmony group Naija Soul Sisters to play songs from her latest record Funmi Ti De. Funmi calls her music ‘faaji music’ meaning ‘good time’ in Yoruba so expect life-affirming, feel-good music driven straight from the heart of Nigerian culture.

Info: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/africautopia

Posted by Sophia A Jackson