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London celebrates Africa On The Square

AFRICA ON The Square made its triumphant return to London’s Trafalgar Square, as celebrities, entrepreneurs, dignitaries and the public enjoyed the sights and sounds of African culture.

The annual event celebrates the best of what Africa has to offer; from the delicious cuisine, clothing and music which came alive on Saturday (Oct 14).

Ahead of Africa on the Square, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "At Africa on the Square, a highlight in the capital’s cultural calendar, Londoners from all backgrounds and visitors to the city will celebrate the best of African culture and creativity.”

“I look forward to joining Londoners from all backgrounds at a variety of events across the city to pay tribute to our African and African-Caribbean communities and all they have done to add to the life of the capital, helping to make it one of the most vibrant places on the planet.”

The public had the opportunity to explore various stalls ranging from fashion to food, making this a key event for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Sandra, founder of Dolls by Verona C, a brand that sells Multicultural dolls dressed in African prints, expressed her excitement to be involved in this year's celebration. She said: “I think this event is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been doing Africa on the Square for three years now and its really nice to know that in London, we have a day for ourselves in somewhere of recognition to celebrate Black History Month and our culture."

PICTURED: Sandra of Dolls by Verona C

“The amount of people who attend is always enormous. After 12pm, it’s all about selling, which is lovely, because once the music starts, people are eating and it’s a great vibe. Also, there are more stalls this year who are doing fantastic work in the black community.”

Solomon, a representative of Shocka’s Coconut Hut, expressed the importance of Africa on the Square in helping people to embrace their African identity. “I think it’s important to celebrate African culture in the UK because lots of people in the diaspora have lost track of their heritage for different reasons,” he said.

“If people have a culture, it’s a part of them and it needs to be celebrated. African identity is an important part of our heritage; tradition and we’ve contributed a lot to the world. Also, it gives people the opportunity to fraternise, come together and have a good time.”

Notable figures also attended Africa on the Square, including Ghana's High Commission Mr Owusu Ankomah, Dr. Miranda Brawn, and actor Danny Sapani.

Miss Ghana UK 2017 winner Sabina Awuni and runner up Francyn Amuah celebrated their success at Africa On The Square and expressed their love for Ghana. “What I love so much about Ghana is the culture,” said Awuni. “There’s so many great things about Ghana and it’s a pleasure to represent my country, and to be here at Africa on the Square celebrating that alongside the whole continent.”

The success of the high-profile event wouldn’t be complete without Open The Gate, the program partner for Africa On The Square. Managing Director and co-founder Sandrine Herbert-Razanfinjato discussed the thorough process behind the event. She said: “We’ve been very busy over the past few months, worked very closely with the mayor’s events team, going through the selection process, to make sure we can represent every country culturally and have diversity throughout.”

This year saw an increase in stalls, showing the evolving interest in African culture in the UK. “We’ve been organising events showcasing African culture, and now this has become more mainstream and people are more interested and curious in knowing about African culture,” said Razanfinjato.

Beyond the shopping and delicious food, attendees were treated to an array of performances from singer Josh Tenor, DJ’s, dancers and a vibrant parade, which was one of the many highlights of the day.

A fashion show from Africa Fashion Week LDN also lit up the stage, with an selection of stunning garments from African designers.

HIGH FASHION: One of the amazing outfits seen during a fashion show

As the fun-filled day came to a close, Dr. Miranda Brawn noted the continued efforts of events like Africa on the Square to honour London’s diversity. “When I talk about diversity, I think we should embrace it in all its forms. To have an event like this which focuses on one continent, reiterates the importance of African culture and allows all people from all nationalities to celebrate Africa’s contribution to the world through music, dance, food, fashion and celebration. I hope to be back next year, with Africa On The Square even bigger and better.”

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