After a two-year hiatus, Africultures Festival is back – and even bigger than before. For the first time, the African community festival – which celebrates the continent’s multitudes of cultures – will be taking over Cathy Freeman Park in Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday May 7.
The one-day festival will have cultural workshops, including an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and be home to more than 30 stalls selling clothing, homewares, accessories and fabrics. On the Kilimanjaro main stage, expect performances by local artists who’ll be debuting new music, as well as dancers, drummers and DJs. “We want people to come and immerse themselves in African culture,” Adama Kamara, one of the festival’s organisers, tells Broadsheet.
Another highlight will be the fashion parade, where anyone from the African community is welcome to strut their stuff and show off their ’fits for a prize. “Fashion is a big thing in African culture. People will actually come up with an outfit design and get a tailor to make it for the festival day,” Kamara says. “Imagine traditional outfits and modern takes using really vibrant, colourful material.”
Besides all the culture, history and arts, there’ll be – of course – plenty of traditional dishes to try at the Nile food court, many of which can’t be found in any Sydney restaurant. This year, there’ll be 12 different food stalls representing the diverse cuisines of Africa. Here are Kamara’s top five picks of what to eat and which stall to hit up:
Chapati with curry, Chapatis for Charity
Chapati, the unleavened bread made from flour, water and salt, is probably best known in Australia for being a staple of Indian cuisine – but it’s also fundamental in East Africa. You’ll be able to pick up stacks of these to scoop up your choice of Sudanese okra or eggplant stew by Sawsan’s Kitchen. All profits made will go towards building a youth community centre in Uganda.
Jollof rice, Little Lagos
Little Lagos is one of the few places in Sydney that serves Nigerian food. The diner’s crew will be drawing on their roots to serve what is considered their country’s national dish: jollof rice. It’s a celebration dish made of long-grain basmati rice cooked in tomato, capsicum, habanero chillies and spices.
Fufu, Afro Kontry Kitchen
Nathaniel Ola-Roberts will be cooking up his grandmother’s recipes from Sierra Leone. On the menu will be fufu (a fermented cassava boiled and pounded into a round dough) doled up alongside bitter-leaf stew.
Roadrunner chicken stew, Mainini Lashell’s Kitchen
With origins in Zimbabwe, the hearty chicken stew is traditionally made from fresh, non-caged chicken which is slow-cooked and spiced with chilli, capsicum, red and brown onion and various spices. It’ll be served with sadza, a porridge made from ground corn and water.
Mandazi, Nyawambi Food
Finish off your African feast with Kenyan-style doughnuts made from a flour, milk and egg mixture with nutmeg and cinnamon. Enjoy them freshly fried by Gift Otieno for morning tea or dessert.
Africultures Festival is on Saturday May 7 from 10am to 6pm at Cathy Freeman Park, Olympic Boulevarde, Sydney Olympic Park. Entry is $5 plus booking fee. Buy tickets online here.