Africa Utopia Returns to London’s Southbank

January 13, 2024
4 mins read

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

Adura Onashile’s Expensive Sh*t, an
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)*t

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

Presidents of Laughrica, a
showcase of the best comedians in the African diaspora including Daliso
Chaponda, Dana Alexander and Athena Kugblenu (2

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

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

Africa Utopia Returns to London’s Southbank

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