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Africa Utopia Returns to London’s Southbank



By Features Desk




Wednesday, August 3, 2016.




Africa Utopia returns for a fourth time to Southbank Centre to explore what can be learnt and celebrated from modern Africa and the African diaspora. The festival investigates the arts and culture of one of the world's most dynamic and fast-changing continents and looks at how Africa can lead the way in thinking about society, community, technology, fashion, gender, faith and activism.

This year's festival features some of the greatest artists from the African diaspora and the continent itself across music, comedy, fashion and performance. Highlights include:


Adura Onashile's Expensive Sh*tan Afrobeat-filled theatre piece exploring female empowerment, moving between the toilet space of a Glasgow club and the toilets of Fela Kuti's Shrine club in 80s Nigeria (1,3 & 4 September)



A rooftop garden concert by Tuareg musicians Terakaft known for their loping desert blues (1 September)



The Presidents of Laughrica, a showcase of the best comedians in the African diaspora including Daliso ChapondaDana Alexander and Athena Kugblenu (2 September)


Mandela Trilogy, a musical tribute about the life of Nelson Mandela presented by world-renowned Cape Town Opera (31 August - 3 September)



The return of Chineke! Orchestra, Britain's first professional orchestra made up entirely of black and minority ethnic musicians marking their first this concert as Southbank Centre Associate Orchestra, featuring Sheku Keanneh-Mason 2016 BBC Young Musician performing on the RFH for the first time (4 September)



Dance collaboration Project O present their duet O:Unplugged investigating embedded racism and sexism for black and mixed race women in the UK (2 September)


A spoken word and music performance Amsterdam which follows Chanje as she is seduced by the Dutch city (4 September)



An Africa Utopia Club Night presented by legendary Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, featuring a special set by Rita Ray and DJ Johan Hugo, one half of Afro-Western band The Very Best (3 September)



Further free music concerts from soulful singer-songwriters Tawiah and Asya Satti

(2 August)



Fashion Undressed with MasterCard presents its first strand at Africa Utopia featuring talks on contemporary African fashion, a look at natural hair and beauty with Afro Hair Meet-Up, a focus on black masculinity and dandyism with Ekow Eshun, a People's Catwalk and Africa Squad Catwalk Show featuring dancers, voguers and key collections from Africa and the diaspora.


Alongside the highlights there will be a plethora of free activity across site from a Black History Walk along the Thames that explores British Civil Rights and black heroes of the past to African Yoga on the Southbank Centre's Roof Garden, or even a class in cooking some of Africa's greatest dishes at the Africa Utopia Cook Off.



A programme of talks, panel debates and workshops will once again underpin the weekend (3-4 September) at Africa Utopia tackling issues such as faith and spirituality in the African identity, African masculinity, the challenging of patriarchy as well as afro-hair workshops and a discussion with Maame Adjei, lead actress of the hit Ghanaian web series An African City - dubbed the African Sex And the City.


Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, said "Africa and its diaspora continue to have a resounding impact across the globe. I'm proud that our festival Africa Utopia celebrates the continent's rich cultural contribution to the world. By tackling the burning cultural issues through humour, music or debate, this festival has become a beacon for fresh ideas, discovery and a wholehearted celebration of the immense influences of the African continent." 


Africa Utopia Returns to London’s Southbank

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