Africa Week 2019 is being organized by Kente & Silk— a social enterprise that strives to change the status quo of Africa-China relations. The relatively new organization aims to fulfill its mission by: facilitating events and experiences that enhance understanding of Africa-China Relations, providing advisory services to build strong partnerships between China and Africa, and championing high-quality African products to the Chinese market. All this sounds like a weighty business, but the team strives to realize their goals in a way that is both creative and engaging. Take, for example, Africa Week 2019— a dynamic series of events that Kente & Silk will host later this month.
After the success of Africa Week 2018, which just so happened to be Kente & Silk’s inaugural event, the team is raring to go and ready to ensure that this year’s event is even bigger and better than the last. Between May 19th- May 26th, nine compelling activities will take place across the city. There will be a culinary journey through Africa, which will feature food from across the continent. There will also be a film screening of an award-winning African film, an art exhibition, interactive workshops, an African inspired fashion show, and a theatrical performance featuring African dance, music, poetry and storytelling. The week-long bonanza will culminate with a start-up pitch competition. The winner of this competition will be awarded with all of the profits from Africa Week to support the growth and development of their business.
We spoke to Mikka Kabugo, the Technical Director of Kente & Silk, to learn more about the fast approaching Africa Week 2019. Mikka was born and raised in Uganda and has lived in China for about six years. He is currently a Medical student at Peking University.
Are there any family-friendly events scheduled to take part during Africa Week?
One of the particularly family-friendly activities we’ll be hosting is ArtAfrik Watoto. This engaging workshop aims to help young children learn about Africa and Africans through art, face painting, storytelling, and an Afro-dance class.
What does “Watoto” mean and what is the vision behind Art Afrik Watoto?
“Watoto” is a Swalihi work meaning child. Children are a joy in every society, and the involvement of children is a way of enriching that joy. We understand that for many people, their perception of Africa derives from what they see on TV. We wanted to design a program for kids that exposed them to stories, art, and music from Africa and gives them a deeper impression and understanding of the culture. People from a young age don’t always know much about the other side, and the image they have is often far drawn from the reality.
Why is the work of Kente & Silk important?
Our work is important because Africa is coming from a long history of misconception as a bare continent, people didn’t understand what African involvement in China would look like and so there was a gap in understanding. Our work allows us to bridge these two vast lands.
Age 3+. May 18, 1-3pm, RMB 120 (one child + one adult) Chaoyang Community College Shuanglongnanli Campus. 朝阳社区学院双龙南里校区 (www.kenteandsilk.com, email@example.com, WeChat: kente&silk)
For more of Pamela’s writing about life in Beijing, visit her blog: www.itisreal.net
Photos: Sam Watterson