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Igbo community in the UK to unite for New Yam Festival

THE IGBO Cultural and Support Network (ICSN) is preparing to celebrate its annual Iri-Ji New Yam festival this weekend (Oct 22) and hopes that with it will come a return of the Igbo language.

The event promises to be an amazing cultural experience with performances by ICSN dance troupe- Egwu Oganiru, a live band, masquerade, yam auction and dancing.

ICSN, a cultural organisation with over 3000 members that promotes the core values of Igboland people is a not for profit company formed of elected board of executives who volunteer their time to deliver its objectives.

Through its monthly meetings and events, it connects a community of young Igbos in the diaspora, educating them on the importance of tradition, language, food, history and Igbo tribe culture.

Speaking ahead of this year’s celebrations, Emeka Egbuonu, assistant network director told The Voice: “We want to ensure that the Igbo language is at the forefront of our activities. We offer seasonal Igbo classes through our Language School and have recently partnered with Imperial College University to deliver Igbo classes in London.”

The organisation said the decline of fluent igbo language speakers was one of the failings of the past generation.

Of the 13 ICSN executives, only three fluently speak Igbo, with the rest attending various levels of the Language school set up by the organisation.

Part of the strategy to reignite an interest in the language will be Igbo worded flash cards which will appear on tables so attendees can practice with each other throughout the night.

“We want to make learning Igbo fun,” organisers said.

“Even at Iri-Ji, Igbo launguage has been in the forefront of many recent discussions, for example, the recent BBC article ‘Why I stopped mispronouncing my Igbo name’ in April 2016.”

The New Yam Iri-Ji Festival of the Igbo people of Nigeria is an annual festival which takes place at the end of the rainy season.

Igbo people all around the world gather to celebrate Iri-ji and mark the prominence of the yam in their social-cultural life.

Yams are the first crop to be harvested by the tribe and the most important crop in the local region, hence the emphasis.

The celebration is a very culturally based event, linking individual Igbo communities together. Nigerian delicacies including delicious rice, yam, meat and fish dishes are served throughout the evening mimicking native festivities from the homeland.

All attendees are encouraged to wear African native and traditional attire for what is expected to be a fantastic opportunity to experience a celebration of the rich Igbo culture in London.

The event will take place at Oasis Banqueting Hall 6-8 Thames Road, Barking, London, IG11 0HZ from 6pm till late for more details and tickets please visit www.icsn.co.uk

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