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Carnival set to celebrate African unity

DURBAN - THIS Africa Month in Durban, children of the soil are expected to gather in song, dance and authentic cuisine.

The African Renaissance Conference takes place over three days starting on Africa Day, on Friday.

And as Durban gears up to host the Celebrate Africa Carnival next Saturday, organisers are calling on dance groups, as well as corporates who want to have floats at the carnival, to register while there is still time.

The African Renaissance was conceived by former president Thabo Mbeki, who encouraged an African identity, with the conference also tackling issues affecting the continent’s political, economic and social renewal.

The conference also features a concert on Saturday, featuring local and African artists. In conjunction with this, Durban will have its first Celebrate Africa Carnival, which will host 10 other African countries.

The carnival’s project manager, Njabulo Shangase, said we needed to celebrate our eclectic mix of cultures more.

“People often say they want to travel and see the world and they jet off to the US, but they’ve never been to Zimbabwe.”

The carnival will see the streets of Durban come alive with traditional outfits and later, at Centrum Park, the public can also experience a taste of Africa.

“You can’t separate culture from food: we dance, we sing and we eat together. There will also be exhibition marquees, where small business enterprises can showcase their products,” said Shangase.

He added that the carnival sought to promote African unity, saying there would also be traditional Indian dance groups performing.

“For us to have free movement on our continent we need to become one. As it stands, we still discriminate against each other when we shouldn’t.”

The carnival will see each of the African countries hosted showcasing their own countries through their floats. The parade will move from North Beach, behind the Marine Parade to Pine Street, turning into Aliwal, all the way into Centrum Park.

“This is a free event open to everyone to come and celebrate being African,” said Shangase.

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