FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5TH ANNUAL PAN AFRICAN FESTIVAL
Celebrating and promoting African heritage& unity September 27, 2014
Silver Spring MD [September 23, 2014] The Pan African Festival (PANAFEST-USA) returns to downtown Silver Spring on Saturday September 27, 2014 at the Silver Spring Civic Center at One Veterans Plaza for its fifth annual African heritage cultural celebration. September is African Heritage month in Montgomery County so it is fitting the month long celebration ends with such a colorful and spectacular celebration of all things African. Between 7,000 -10,000 people are expected to attend. PANAFEST-USA is organized to celebrate, promulgate and educate the public about the shared rich cultures of people of African ancestry. This year’s theme I ♥ African Heritage Unity aims to promote solidarity among all people of African heritage, as well as help build a cultural support network for African Diaspora communities in the Capital region. The event, a perfect end-of-summer destination for family fun is free and open to the public and runs from 12noon until 9pm.
Hosting the event is Mr. David Vandy of Voice of America, Ms. Sylvia Litana Robertson, former host at Afrika Plus TV and Mr. Gil Ingles current host of Southern African Connection TV. The festival will open with a libation and procession of Kings, Queens and paramount chiefs from the various African regions. Representatives from State and local government, various embassies and community groups including DC Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry and Miss Africa USA 2014, Meron Mary Eskista Wudneh will attend. Ms. Adele Clarice will sing the national anthem. Performances will begin soon after. Over 25 groups representing all regions of Africa, the Caribbean and the USA have signed up to participate in the festival. New on the scene will be performances from the Southern African region, which has previously, been under represented at PANAFEST-USA. This year’s performance line -up includes;
BANDS & ARTISTS
• Amisa Asima (Cameroon)
• Anne Marcelle (Ivory Coast)
• ASA! Kalenya (Various)
• Ausar Auset Society (USA )
• Babessi Cultural Group (Cameroon)
• Ethiopian Traditional Dancers (USA)
• Farafina Kan (USA)
• Sierra Leone Fly Girls (Sierra Leone)
• Lily Meka (Cameroon)
• Gotti Monroe (Nigeria/USA)
• Josephine Atanga (Cameroon)
• Mbuutu Dance (Uganda)
• Moto Moto Marimba Band (Zimbabwe)
• New Birth Foundation(USA)
• People’s Community Baptist Church (USA)
• Rhythms of Kalahari (Botswana)
• The Sanctuaries (USA)
• Shango Kwame Drum Ensemble (USA)
• Uasuf Gueye (USA)
• Young Heru Harris (USA)
FASHION & BEAUTY
• Southern African Fashion Show
HEALTH & FITNESS
• Zumba with Zukossa Fitness
• NesiWangu – My Nurse
MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
• Margaret Dureke
• Middle Passage
• Greater Potomac Valley Exploration Committee
• African Immigrant Caucus
STAND UP COMEDY & POETRY
• Anna Mwalagho (Kenya)
• Sylvia Kiruri (Kenya)
VENDORS & EXHIBITORS
In addition to live performances, PANAFEST-USA offers vendors of food, arts & crafts, apparel, and services. Food vendors serving dishes to reflect the different cultures represented the Greater Washington DC area. Do not miss out on the exotic fare from the diverse cultures of Africa including jolof rice from West Africa, Vetkoeks from South Africa; jerk chicken, goat-meat and fish from the Caribbean just to name a few; and other spicy, appetizing dishes from across the African Diaspora. The arts & crafts exhibitors’ displays include colorful and rich fabrics; handcrafted fine arts; interactive demonstrations; health and wellness workshops; spectacular jewelry.
Also exhibiting at the Festival are various community based nonprofit organizations including Montgomery County Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (ACWAA), African Immigrant Caucus (AIC), Southern African Community USA (SACU), Nesi Wangu, Montgomery County African Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG)
The Gilchrist Center for Cultural diversity strives to make Montgomery County a thriving multicultural community where every resident feels welcomed, participates civically, and contributes positively to the economy by providing all county residents with empowerment tools including English as a second language classes, workforce development, computer literacy .
AIC is participating in this year’s fifth annual Pan-African cultural festival “PANAFEST 2014” to increase awareness and political power on behalf of African Immigrants in the U.S. It is important, that Africans come together to work towards making our demands known to political officials, by establishing a collective voice, and common goal.
Southern African Community,USA a consortium of 15 Southern African communities in the DC metro region is participating as part of its mission to unite and raise the visibility of Southern Africans in the U.S., thereby creating cultural awareness and advance their interests through engagement. SACU is the organizing of the Southern African Fashion show.
The African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association is a coalition of African immigrant women health professionals formed to address disparities in awareness, prevention and access to healthcare for African immigrant communities that face cancer and other life threatening illnesses.
NesiWangu or My Nurse in Swahili, is community health advocacy service started by Tanzanian born Registered Nurse Harriet Shangarai. Realizing the need for clear, simple and easily accessible health information for the Swahili speaking Tanzanian community Harriet started Nesi Wangu a health blog to share information as well as to create awareness of health disparities in the community here in America as well as in Tanzania
The Montgomery County African Affairs Advisory Group will be conducting a voter registration drive at the festival. Immigrant and minority groups have the lowest voter turnout rate and AAAG is working to change that as it is only through engagement and participation that change can come
OUR PARTNERS & SPONSORS
The 2014 PANAFEST- USA sponsors include Fund for Montgomery, World of Montgomery Festival, MoneyGram, Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships, Roots to Glory Tours and Kaiser Permanente.
Pan African Festival-USA (PANAFEST-USA) is an annual cultural festival, held in Silver Spring Maryland to celebrate
African Culture; promote solidarity among all Africans, and develop a cultural support network for African diaspora communities in the Capital region. Held each year on the last weekend of September, PANAFEST-USA is the finale that caps the month long celebration of September as African Heritage month. Since inception in 2010 PANAFEST-USA has grown in size and popularity and draws thousands of visitors, vendors and exhibitors from as far north as New York and as far south as Georgia. It has become the premier African cultural festival in the Washington DC Metro area
PANAFEST-USA organizing Committee is led by the All Cameroonian Cultural & Development Foundation (ACCDF) in partnership with Montgomery County African Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG). ACCDF is registered nonprofit foundation whose aim is to revive, conserve and enhance Cameroonian cultural heritage by leveraging cultural diversity as a vehicle to stimulate collaboration and shared responsibility in building a progressive, enterprising community. The African Affairs Advisory Group serves as liaison between the African communities and the Montgomery County government. The purpose of the African Affairs Advisory Group is to ensure that the County Executive is well informed of and able to act effectively to respond to the needs and concerns of African immigrants living and or working in Montgomery County.
2014 PERFORMERS BIOS
Uasuf Gueye;Uasuf is a dynamic djembe and dundun drummer, and is a skilled instrument craftsman. He also plays the 21-key bala. Uasuf spends his time performing, teaching, and studying music and the history associated with it. Uasef has served as Teachers assistant in music classes at Montgomery College Maryland, University of Maryland and conducted a workshop at a music clinic at the Berklee School of Music
ASA Kilenya;ASA! Kelenya is an African Highlife dance company. The official performing company of ASA! Enterprises LLC, ASA! Kelenya fuses traditional and contemporary African dance.” ASA! Kilenya has dancers from USA, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Trinidad
Anna Mwalagho ;Anna Mwalagho is more than a triple-threat performer. She is a true remarkable renaissance woman, an internationally recognized actress, comedian, poet/spoken word artist, African dancer, singer/songwriter and storyteller. She has won numerous national awards in her native country Kenya, and here in the U.S.A, where she is recognized as the Queen of spoken Afro beat and “Mama Africa”. She has captivated many with her blend of spoken word, African dance, music, comedy, acting, and storytelling into an electrifying one woman show
Ethiopian Traditional Dance; Thomas Young is an American who performs Ethiopian Traditional Dance. Mr. Young has been studying the Ethiopian culture for 15 years
Middle Passage presents poetry, music and dancing all aimed at highlighting the significance of PANAFEST-USA and Middle Passage. Presentations includes When We Were Africans, Drums of Thunder by the Shango Kwame Drum Ensemble, a music and dance to celebrate the African spirit, which survived in Afro-America and represents the longing to identify and reconnect with African and its heritage. Middle Passage also presents the African Spirit Remembered by the Ausar Auset Society who will sing praise songs and perform a ritual community dance. Closing the segment is the People’s Community Baptist Church, whose congregation has 2000 members, will present a flag ceremony executed by its Boy Scout Troop; and its Youth Choir will deliver a medley of thematic songs related to the historical struggles of blacks
Rhythms of Kalahari is a 3-member women group from Botswana. They will perform Botswana traditional dances. Their name is derived from Kqlahari or Kalahari, a desert in Botswana. The Kalahari is home to the Khoi-San, a tribe of hunters and gathers. The group’s type of dance originated from the Khoi-San people. Rhythms of the Kalahari has performed at occasions at the United Nations, Botswana Embassy, Brooklyn Museum and the Russell Simmons Empowerment Fund
The Southern African Fashion Show;The Southern African Fashion USA is organized by Southern AfricanCommunity USA (SACU) to showcase the designs and fashion of southern Africa as well as raise the visibility of Southern Africans in the DC metro region and beyond. Designers featured at PANAFEST- USA include Nashona designs (Tanzania), Mitindo by Ma Winny (Tanzania) and Jewelry & accessories by South African Bazaar. Leading the models is model and Fashion Show Coordinator Mrs. Inga Kim.
Young Heru Harris;Is a young writer and producer who has been performing since age 3.He has performed dancing on the streets of Harlem, Brooklyn, and Venice Beach. He has also acted in Days of our Lives” and as the face of the ʺYoung Athletesʺcampaign for Nike
Margaret Dureke Juris Doctor
Founder and President of Women Empowered to Achieve The impossible (WETATi)- a global business network for women of all generations; Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, her mission is to help women and girls get empowerment and emancipation through education
Zumba with Zukossa-Join the Zukossa Fitness team for one hot hour of Zumba featuring West African, Caribbean and Latin rhythms. Visit zukossafitness.com or contact Janet Awokoya at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
African Immigrant Caucus-The African Immigrant Caucus is a growing network of African Immigrant Institutions that have come together to effect change through the power of our numbers. Launched in the Washington DC metro area in November 2013, the group consists of community, clergy, and business leaders who believe African immigrants in the diaspora need a voice in the political system.
Mbuutu Dance Group- Mbuutu of Uganda is an East African dance group based in the DC metro area that performs traditional and modern dances. Members have traveled extensively and performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center, World Bank, Annenberg Center for the Arts, MIT, St. Maarten Art Saves Lives Summer Intensive, and more. Two of the group’s members, Julian B. Kiganda and Christine K. St. Vil, recently published a transformational book called “Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be” which speaks about personal growth from an African perspective. After selling out at their book launch and receiving numerous speaking requests, the authors realized that “Whose Shoes” is more than just a book: it is a movement. As part of that movement, Mbuutu will be performing the “Whose Shoes Slide” which they will be teaching and having you join in on the fun
Moto Moto Marimba Band-Moto Moto Marimba is a dynamic group of musicians
performing Shona songs from Zimbabwe on Marimba. Moto Moto also performs Mbira music from Zimbabwe. Moto is a Shona word meaning fire. Just like fire, Moto Moto marimba music’s hot rhythms compel you to get up and shine on the dance floor. Their music appeals to all ages. The band is based in Northern Virginia.
Farafina Kan;Farafina Kan maintains the history, traditions, and culture of West Africa through intergenerational performance in drum, dance and song. Through performances, workshops, residences, and in-studio classes, Farafina Kan offers audiences a passport to authentic Africa
Sylvia Kiruri;Originally, from Kenya Sylvia is a college student with a passion for Poetry and community engagement programs that help elevate and enrich the lives of immigrates in the diaspora. To Sylvia, the art of poetry is”the eyes that tell a story when one is still yet asleep.”
Sierra Leone Fly Girls;Sierra Leone Fly Girls are an all-girls group made up of cousins Nyanbeh, Zainab, Isha, Gloria & Mariama. They were all born in America to parents of Sierra Leone descend. The group began as a Church group in 2011 and they have risen like a phoenix. The Sierra Leone Fly Girls’ performances have enflamed passions of fans and rapturous crowds everywhere they have performed. They perform to different Africa beats, beats they grew up listening to and used to hone their skills.
Gotti Monroe;Gotti Monroe is a female hip-hop artist from Washington DC. She has hit the stage all over from locally to even being on 106 & Park, where she won the female hip- hop competition on Wild Out Wednesday. She will be performing her music along with her debut single “See Me Now” which is available on iTunes, Amazon, & Spotify.
Lily Meka;Lily Meka is a Cameroon born singer, songwriter, model and humanitarian.
She grew up singing and performing at different venues passing on her powerful message through speech and songs. Her specialty is African Folklore music and sings from the heart.
Amisa Asima;Amisa Asima is a Cameroonian singer, composer, actor, playwright, poet, and theater critic and stand-up comedian.
Anne Marcelle;Anne Marcelle is an Ivorian dancer. She and her partner Moussa perform an Ivorian dances moves to the song okenni-tkin by renowned Ivorian performer Serge Beynaud. Anne also performs solo routines where she does dance styles from all over Africa.
The Sanctuaries.What happens when creative people of different spiritual backgrounds and artistic influences collaborate towards a common vision? That is the question that sits at the heart of The Sanctuaries, the diverse arts community with soul, which inspires its artists to make art. The Artists of The Sanctuaries bring soul through various kinds of vocal performances
Babessi Cultural Group;Babessi is the head Quarters of Babessi Subdivision in Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Region of Cameroon. Babessi were the first settlers of the Ndop Plain and Babessi tradition traces its dynastic origins to the Tikari who were great mask-makers around the 1500. After settling in the Ndop Plain, “Le’boh” became their famous victory song/dance and Nyo’leboh their Chaperon during difficult moments. Wherever they are, the Babessi people always promote their culture because a loss of cultural identity is tantamount to the loss of knowledge
Josephine Atanga;Josephine Atanga is a song writer and an international gospel recording artist from Cameroon. She has been singing as a child and released her first album about 7 years ago. She is the winner of 2010 African gospel musical award, the recipient of Senatorial recognition from Ben Cardin for her community services. She is a talk show founder and host of Gospel Drum, has her own design line–listar Design. She believes in the power of giving and has touched many lives here in USA and Africa by giving out scholarships to the needy. Currently a third year BS Nursing student. She has a BA in English literature. She has release two cds and two videos. Has performed for important dignitaries like first lady of Sierra Leone, the ambassadors of Cameroon and Sierra Leone .Was a two time nominee for the Best African Gospel Music in USA by the African Gospel Music Award
WE ARE SOCIAL! -Live updates coverage will be posted to our social networks. Use hashtag #PANAFESTUSA to follow live tweet- coverage and pre-festival updates @panafestusa1
CONTACT: PANAFEST-USA Public Relations
Justine Mbianda (301)379-9111
Soffie Ceesay (240) 273-5616
Fatmata Barrie (301) 300-9781