History

In 2017, it was the great pleasure of the African Diaspora Foundation to announce the inauguration of an annual event – the African Diaspora Festival. This wonderful event held in Milton Keynes makes us feel proud of our community and our efforts to celebrate each other’s cultural diversity and promote community cohesion – the very backbone of the African Diaspora Foundation. This article will track the progress we have made since the first event in 2017 and how we are planning for the future. Before that, we will consider what the event is about and why the event takes place.

  • Simply, the event is based around celebrating African culture…
  • Creating pride in youths for their cultural heritage…
  • Educating others on African culture…
  • Promoting the African Diaspora Foundation’s amazing charity work…
  • And of course – having fun!

 

  • The aim of the festival is to create community cohesion…
  • To follow the lead of the African Diaspora Foundation in lessening the risks of gun/knife crime…
  • Educate others on the activities inside the Diaspora…
  • And to get people interested in their own heritage as well as the culture of others.
 
 

As mentioned, the Festival has been in place since 2017, a special year for Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes Council were eager to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Milton Keynes and were pushing for many activities to take place across the year to celebrate and commemorate how far Milton Keynes has come since 1967. We decided to set up a festival that was dedicated to the promotion of local African communities in Milton Keynes. Our 2017 festival was based around connecting African achievements in the local community, celebrating the culture of our fabulous continent and showcasing it to other Milton Keynes communities – attempting to create community cohesion. Different African arts groups performed dance and music, showing their wonderful talents. In addition, many motivational speakers attended – including a special visit from the Mayor of Milton Keynes! We were also honoured to host speakers from MK Dons Football Club, the local Fire Services and the Milton Keynes Parks Trust. In addition, many delectable dishes were served – originating from the Easternmost, Westernmost, Southernmost and Northernmost parts of Africa! It was truly a wonderful festival and we were encouraged to carry on the festival into 2018.

In 2018, we decided to really focus on the wonderful cultural diversity within our communities. At the time, there were a number of up-and-coming artists from Africa who performed at our festival to showcase their talents. Many young people at the event were inspired by these performances. At the ADF, we were extremely proud to see our efforts to create pride in cultural minority youngsters paying off. Being able to connect with their culture in their home town of Milton Keynes really touched them and we were extremely impressed to see their interest and happy to see their genuine enjoyment of the festival. Again, we managed to host speakers from MK Dons, Fire Services, the MK Parks Trust and the Mayor. And, of course, the food was magnificent!

By 2019, the African Diaspora Foundation, through the African Diaspora Festival, had inspired many youths in Milton Keynes since its inauguration in August 2017. The event allows members of the community to showcase their talents through music, dance, poetry, storytelling and even a fashion show. In 2019, we had over 75 young people taking part in the African Diaspora Festival. We were proud to give them a unique opportunity to be part of something they love doing, that promotes diversity and that promotes community cohesion.

In 2019, we decided to place young people at the heart of the festival. Creating an appreciation, respect and enjoyment of their cultures was important for us in designing the festival’s ethos and aim in 2019. A festival first, we held a large fashion show – dominated by the youth of the ADF community. It was amazing to see so many young people come to be proud and truly appreciate their culture! In addition, around 60 young people took part in an African beat dance. Many young people travelled to Milton Keynes from across the UK to be part of this wonderful event. During the 2019 festival, we realised just how big the African Diaspora Festival had become, in fact becoming one of the largest festivals in Buckinghamshire, and we were happy to see such strong levels of engagement and enjoyment from our guests.

After the success of the 2019 festival, we were inspired to put every effort in to making the event the highlight of the African community’s year. We really feel people deserve to be proud of their culture and also of where they live now – in the fabulously diverse town of Milton Keynes. However, sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic halted our progress and stopped us in our tracks. Although we were highly disappointed to have to cancel our 2020 ADF Festival, we are excited from what we are planning in 2021. We plan on offering workshops based on activities of the ADF such as beading and braiding. We are also going to be making costumes and clothing to be used in 2021 and are discussing many more activities to excite our audiences.

We truly hope this article has stimulated your interest in the ADF Festival if you haven’t attended before. If you have, we hope you are looking forward to what we hope 2021 will bring and that you will attend again! We warmly invite you to follow us on our social media pages to receive updates on our crucial charity work in Milton Keynes and the wider Diaspora as well as exciting updates to come on the planned 2021 African Diaspora Festival.