SACRAMENTO – With fashion shows, concerts and exhibits, the Third Annual African Cultural Festival promises to be as diverse as the continent it seeks to exalt.
The festival is set to be held October 19-20 at the Place County Fair and Event Center in Roseville and as organizers put the final touches on the event, the Sacramento OBSERVER spent a few minutes with organization president Uche Ozoh. Ozoh, a native of Nigeria, has called Sacramento home for nearly six years. While he admits the organization has undergone some ups and downs, he says it’s stronger for it, and ever determined to represent the “motherland” in the manner it deserves.
SO: What can people expect when they attend?
UO: They can expect to see a very colorful event, different shows going on all day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., authentic African cultural performers will be there, some from here in the California and other from the motherland. It will be open with a parade, followed with different shows by different countries and and other cultural organizations. There will be vendors and art and craft exhibitors. Different cultural cuisines, African kings and and other African dignitaries will be there, if they all got their visas early enough to come and support the event. There will be kid’s fun and a temporary museum to educate children about Africa. At night t wilherel be a gala dinner to welcome the visitors from the motherland.
SO: Does Sacramento have a large African population?
UO: Yes it does, but all spread out around the Sacramento area.
SO: Is there much interaction between Africans and African Americans here in Sacramento?
UO: No there is not much interaction between Africans and African American as one may think; and even among the Africans themselves there are less interaction with one another; that is why our event is so important. We use it to bridge the gap between all cultures and communities, we use it as a common medium that allows us to interact with one another and come together as a family and learn from one another.
SO: What can Africans and African Americans learn from each other?
UO: Africans can learn from African Americans about the suppression and oppression that they have been through from the era of slavery ‘til the modern day; the fights they have been through physically, mentally and psychologically in fighting for their rights, while on the other hand African Americans can learn from Africans about their African culture and heritage that they have preserved for thousands of years which the African Americans did not grow in the motherland to witness and experience.
SO: Why is the event held in Roseville?
UO: The event is being held in Roseville because that is where we were able to get the support that we need. It’s been very challenging for us to get sponsors to enable us keep this event going in Sacramento. We tried to partner with some other organizations in Sacramento to enable us work together and split the cost, but that was unsuccessful. Finally we got a break by getting great support from Placer County Fairgrounds, Roseville. We embraced the opportunity for we don’t want to let this good thing that we have started just die away because of lack of funds and support.
The Placer County Fair & Events Center is located on 800 All American City Boulevard, Roseville. Tickets are $5. Kids 12 and under are free. Free parking is also available. For more information, call (916) 222-5868 or (916) 897-3411 or visit www.africanculturalfestival.org.
By Genoa Barrow
OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer