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Showcasing African cultures and beyond

PICTURED: The African Market from Open The Gate

THE MAYOR of London’s Africa on the Square event returns to Trafalgar Square for the forth time in a row, on Saturday 14 October.

Africa on the Square is the most vibrant celebration of the continent’s culture in the capital this October and attracts over 25,000 visitors on the day. The event has been programmed collaboratively with Open The Gate, East-London based cultural organisation.

Open The Gate is a not-for-profit cultural organisation which aims to promote a contemporary positive image of Africa & the diaspora, through arts, fashion, music programme. Launched in 2009, Open the Gate has come to be recognised as the go-to organisation for all things African and creative.

In 2010, the organisation laid down some temporary roots in Hackney, east London, where it gained a reputation for its ability to harness talent from the African continent and share it with the wider community.

Open The Gate brings its recognised trademark of African Cultural events and activities around London, hosting Live World Music concerts with the aims of giving visibility to upcoming artists, offering affordable shows featuring renowned and established acts, showcasing a variety of musical genres and traditions in order to instigate people’s interest for cultural diversity.

Besides live music events, Open The Gate is hosting its unique and very popular fair: The African Market, featuring a selection of the most talented designers from Africa and inspired by African cultures as well as charities raising awareness and funds for their projects. It includes a real feel of Africa but also of the local community, welcoming free drumming workshops, storytelling, face painting, and African food.

In the past seven years, the organisation has grown from organising music events to managing new branches such as a booking agency, a cooperation and development project in Africa, and even a handmade accessories label – passing by having set up and run a cultural venue for two years in the heart of East London!

The social enterprise is known for its regular events in indoor and outdoor venues including Old Spitalfields, RichMix, the Jazz Cafe and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

As the name indicates its really about creating a platform, opening avenues for artists and doing it in such a way that it is of quality, reliable and is consistent. At the core is passionate people; the team is made up of volunteers and everyone does it because they just love it and this love of sharing that passion and knowledge with the maximum amount of people.

Open The Gate is a hub and platform for artists, musicians and creative minds and also acts as a Booking Agency: a service provided for other organizations, promoters, festivals, corporations to book the artists that Open The Gate supports and represents.

“We decided to create Open the Gate because we had a lot of friends of African descent who were extremely talented and we wanted to showcase their work to the public. We started to do concerts and it worked well so we became committed to doing it on a more consistent basis,” shared co-founder Sandrine Herbert-Razafinjato.

Since then, the organisation has enlarged their field of activities with The ”Pen & Paper Campaign” , a Co-operation & Development Project, active from 2012 in Gambia. It is supporting the Educational System and helping defeat other consequential social issues.
Meet Open The Gate team at Africa on the Square on their booth on the North Terrace"

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