Nathan White, born in Liberia and living in Minneapolis, had a vision of bringing together the many African cultures represented in the Twin Cities as well as holding a celebration that would present an opportunity for people outside of these communities to explore the many cultures that make up Africa. Afrifest was born from this idea.
According to the news piece from Minnesota Public Radio, “The roots of the festival were planted in Nathan White’s brain when he moved from his native Liberia to Minneapolis in 1993. While a student at the University of Minnesota, White lived with his mother at the Cedar Riverside Apartments. One of his fondest memories was the West Bank’s late summer ritual and music extravaganza, Cedarfest.
Recalling the spirit and memories of the festival, White said, “And I can remember waking up to the music, but every block had music from a different culture.”
With 50,000 Africans representing over 45 different ethnic backgrounds calling Minnesota home, and 5,000 Africans living a four-block area on the West Bank, there could be a lot of appeal for an a festival celebrating African heritage and culture.
Afrifest is slated for August 18 and 19 at Currie Park, just across the street from the Cedar Riverside Apartment complex. It will feature African art, food, fashion, and most of all, music. A main stage will showcase eight or nine acts, with a community stage designed for emerging artists.
Organizers are trying to book a national African act to kick things off at the Cedar Cultural Center, but are deliberately focusing on Minnesota talent for the bulk of the festival. To learn more visit MPR or the Afrifest website.