Kitenge Festival UK is taking place this Saturday, August 12th at Newham Leisure Centre, London. We had an opportunity to interview the founder and director Jo Nganda, who spoke candidly and passionately about the upcoming event which is her biggest challenge to date. Attendance is free. Read her exclusive interview below.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JO NGANDA
Can you briefly introduce yourself ?
My name is Jo Nganda and I am an award winning entrepreneur, publicist, and charity campaigner. I am CEO of Jozyz Agency, an Events Planning, and PR company. My interests lie with promoting Africa and community initiatives that promote unity and community cohesion through my projects and platforms Kitenge Festival UK and Hope Alive Mission. I am also the Secretary of the Ugandan Entertainment Association UK since its formation three years ago. I am the Director of Kitenge Festival UK, a non-profit community body which aims to promote African fashion, culture, business & the arts in the UK. I found the Ladyboss Network which holds free events with an aim to get together Women in Business to network and share successes, challenges, and future prospects.
What is Kitenge Festival all about?
Kitenge Festival UK is a non-profit community body which aims to promote African fashion, culture, business & the arts in the UK. The one-day annual event is a unique platform which showcases Africa’s valuable, distinctive and unique heritage in a carnival/celebration atmosphere whilst instilling a sense of African pride. Our goal is to bring together communities and small businesses under one roof bridging cultural gaps. The event now in its 5th year is designed to appeal to taste makers that take active roles in setting unique standard for style, cultural trends within the African Community in the UK.
Kitenge Festival UK has been promoting global unity and opportunities in African business, culture, philanthropy, education, fashion & the arts in the UK and beyond. The festival has for the past 4 years rejuvenating communities and bridging cultural gaps whilst instilling a sense of African pride. This will be our 5th year and we expect to draw 700 participants from local and international countries, including 70 exhibitors, 70 vendors & Stalls, 7 Food stalls, 11 Designer Showcase, Kids Fashion show, 2 Traditional Bands, Drum/Dance workshop, Awards Presentation, Dress Competition, Headwrap demonstrating, Product demos, HIV/AIDS Testing, Networking plus much more.
Confirmed headline act Afro Jazz sensation and Percussionist Seby Ntege & live band for Kitenge Festival UK. Other acts include Sabbey International Drummers, Bantu Arts, Kuklee Ali, ArA Harmonics, Bianca Smith, Marianna Zappi, Lady Marga MC, Ayo, Da Sweetnezz, Angel SBL and Kleo Artist.
How long how you been running this event and why?
In its 5th year now, the event has grown exponentially and has become a major cultural event drawing local and international crowds. The festival is one community, celebrating Africa! a great place for Africans and friends of Africa to gather under one roof for celebrations and network and business whilst showcasing Africa’s valuable and distinctive heritage in a ‘carnival’ like atmosphere.
Who can attend Kitenge Festival?
We are calling all Africans and friends of Africa, we are expecting you. This is a family friendly event and all are welcome including children.
What are some of the activities you and your team are planning to put together for the day?
Dr Pauline Long and Cllr Ademola Aminu will be presiding guests of honor. The event will be hosted by Lydia Olet (Kenya in the Park) and Ivan Kaburahe (Broadcaster) and will feature great performances, live bands, dance, competitions, awards presentation, networking, product sampling, fashion expo/stalls, drum workshops, fashion shows and traditional craft displays, African food and face painting.
How will the event benefit Africans in the Diaspora?
The event is designed to appeal to influential figures, community leaders, movers, and shakers, taste makers that take active roles in setting a great standard for style, cultural trends and overall ingenuity within the African Community in the Diaspora.
Why do you see the need for such a big festival here in the UK?
For some of us who have come from Africa at a young age remembers the struggle with not necessarily identity but the lack of such platforms that celebrated us and our rich heritage and culture. I created the platform so that my nephews and all those young kids out there can be proud of their roots and be told about our riches and success with pride and in a celebratory style as well as learn.
What are your future plans for Kitenge festival after this year?
Simply to grow the festival locally and to an international presence. Maybe we can spread out over the weekend or week of celebrations rather than just the 6 hours. Maybe we could build something that gives back to those in need and give a voice to the voiceless through our Hope Alive initiative. Maybe we will continue to act as a launch pad for the young talent and their careers. The vision is Big!
Can someone who doesn’t leave in the UK benefit from this event?
Absolutely! Kitenge Festival is a global platform. Each year we get more applications from Africa and the rest of the world. The numbers rise each year so this is something as organizers we are keen to promote especially with our vast network of African SMEs here in the UK there’s plenty of benefits for businesses.
Kitenge is a free festival, but one needs to apply for tickets, why is it a free festival and where can one get their ticket?
This is for our own logistical and planning purposes to do with venue capacity. We’d like to keep the sense of community and inclusion for all with this event so that the platform and the general public both benefit from the program’s FREE ADMISSION. TICKETS VIA: https://kitengefestivaluk
What will people benefit from the event?
The culture that will be evident on stage in the form of traditional live bands and young talent making their mark in the entertainment industry. There is also a vast array of the 70 African businesses that we have pulled together to exhibit.
Featured Performances: Confirmed headline act Afro Jazz sensation and Percussionist Seby Ntege & live band. Other acts include Sabbey International Drummers, Bantu Arts, Kuklee Ali, Da Sweetnezz ArA Harmonics, Marianna Zapi, Lady Marga MC, Ayo, Angel SBL and Kleo Artist.
Charity: The importance of empowering Kitenge Festival UK’s role in the community is very important for all our social responsibility. This event is aimed at strengthening community cohesion, peer promotion and bringing artists together, promoting small business enterprises, empowering those participating through motivational speakers and transforming lives through youth initiatives and annual fundraising events to help victims of domestic abuse in the community through our charity program Hope Alive Mission.
Are there any other information or details you will like to share with us regarding the event?
Dress up and show up preferably in KITENGE (African Prints). Arrive early and on time to enjoy the full program.
Come and explore the 70 pop ups and learn something about these businesses. Sample the African Cuisine and just have fun with our planned entertainment.
Hosted by Lydia Olet and Ivan Kaburahe
Guests of Honour: Dr Pauline Long (BEFFTA Awards) and Cllr Adedamola Aminu (Former Mayor of Lambeth)
Exquisite Model Management
Media Partners: Hotshots Multi-media, BlacknBold Magazine & African Glitz, Ayuba Magazine, Afrokanist Magazine, FashionpitUG.
Supported by: Senditoo,Jozyz Agency of Events & PR, Pauline Long Show, Hona Africa, Active Newham.
Thanking all our volunteers. To volunteer email us [email protected]
Brought you by JozyzAgency in Partnership with Open the Gate.
Location: Newham Leisure Centre
Date & Time: 12th August 2017, 12:00pm – 18:00pm
Expected Attendance: 700 plus guests
Honourees: 30 people will receive awards
Thank you very much for your time. We’re media partners who are indeed proud of you, your projects and how far you have come. We wish you all the very best at Kitenge Festival UK taking place This Saturday, August 12th from 12 pm. Save the date!
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