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‘Land of upright people’ highlight Africa In April

  • Written by Dr. Sybill C. Mitchell

africainapril 600One of the city's most anticipated annual festivals marks the richness and diversity of African cultures, and this year's schedule of events will not disappoint, according to founder and executive director, David L. Acey Sr.

"The 2014 Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, slated for April 16-20, will honor the West African country of Burkina Faso, a beautiful, lush expanse of land sharing its border with six other nations," said Acey.

"Much of the nation's population boasts descent from the Mossi Warriors, who ruled over one of the most powerful empires in West Africa from the 11th century up to the 19th century."
Burkina is largely desert in the north region and rolling grasslands spotted with bushes in the central and southern regions, said Acey.

17WatsonatAIADSC 3645"While the Republic of Burkina is not as well-known as some other African nations, it's history and heritage is just as intriguing and fascinating. Festival-goers are in for a real treat this year."
The African International Business and Economic Trade Luncheon kicked off this year's festivities at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis on Wednesday.

Upcoming scheduled events will be staged in Robert R. Church Park at historic Beale Street in Downtown Memphis. Vendors and festival sponsors will be on hand to provide authentic African dishes, clothing, household goods and jewelry for "a taste of the Burkina experience."

African dancers and other performers will headline a Friday morning International Diversity Parade. Daily activities will culminate Sunday with an International African-American Music Day, featuring jazz, gospel and reggae performers and artists.

Acey, along with wife, Yvonne Acey, have guided the Africa In April Cultural Awareness enterprise for 24 years with the mission of creating "a better understanding and appreciation for African traditions, thereby increasing the respect for one's ethnicity."

Burkina is home to 63 ethnic groups, nearly 16 million people.

The Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival schedule

International Entrepreneur's Day on Wednesday featured the African International Business & Economic Trade Luncheon at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis. It included the naming of The LeMoyne-Owen College President Johnny B. Watson as the 2014-15 Executive of the Year.

Thursday, April 17
International Vendors/Marketplace Set-up Day
Beale St. at Robert R. Church Park
11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Friday, April 18
Children & Senior Citizens Day International Diversity Parade
Beale St. at Robert R. Church Park
10:30 a.m.

Saturday, April 19
Family Health/Wellness,
Community Day Blues Showcase
Beale St. at Robert R. Church Park
8 a.m.-until

Sunday, April 20
International African-American Music
Day Jazz, Gospel & Reggae Fest
Beale St. at Robert R. Church Park
8 a.m.-8 pm

(For more information on the festival's events this week, call 901-947-2133, or visit www.africainapril.com.)

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