Laois Africa Day to bring vibrant summer festivities to Portlaoise

Leinster Express Reporter

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Leinster Express Reporter

Laois Africa Day to bring summer festivities to Portlaoise

Laois Africa Day will bring African-themed cultural events and experiences to life in Portlaoise this June.

Laois County Council, Laois Partnership and the Laois African Support Group will host a family-friendly Africa Day celebration in the car park of the Portlaoise Parish Centre to mark the occasion.

A series of stalls surrounding a central seating area will feature food tasting; a showcase of house arts and crafts; as well as a number of local African traders.

With traditional African hair braiding, face painting and colouring masks for children, there will be something for all ages on the day.

The event programme will include traditional African music, signing, poetry and drama as well as a fashion show featuring traditional African dress. Local performers from Laois are invited to participate including singers and Irish dancers.

Anvil Fitness will host an African Dance workshop and participants will join in a “world dance” as part of the event closing ceremony.

In the week leading up to the Laois Africa Day event, members of the Laois African Support Group will visit three primary schools where they will host workshops for the students on African culture, music and dancing.

As part of the Africa Day celebration, Laois African Support Group and Dunamaise Art Centre, Portlaoise have come together to screen an African movie, Queen Of Katwe.

The film depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe. She learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her victories at World Chess Olympiads. The screening will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 10 am at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.

Laois African Support Group will also be visiting schools, educating the children about the values, ways and culture of Africa.

Africa Day celebrations take place in the car park of the Portlaoise Parish Centre from 12pm to 5pm on Saturday, June 1.

This year’s Africa Day programme will centre on a partnership with ten local authorities in Laois, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Meath, Waterford and Wexford. It was launched today by Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon TD.

The programme aims to embrace communities across the country through events ranging from African-themed film festivals, art exhibitions and seminars to football tournaments, school visits and a flag procession.

Laois Africa Day 2019 event will be held in the car park of the Portlaoise Parish Centre on Saturday, June 1.

Minister Cannon said the event focuses on involvement and engagement.

“This year’s celebrations will focus in particular, on community involvement and engagement. Irish Aid is delighted to be partnering with ten local authorities around Ireland in delivering a vibrant programme of events over the period leading up to Africa Day on May 25, and beyond into June; offering learning, fun and cultural celebration in the process.

“Each of the ten local authorities partnering with Irish Aid to deliver Africa Day 2019 celebrations is collaborating with diaspora groups to design and run highly-engaging programmes.  I would like to congratulate all of the participating councils and community groups for their innovation and commitment to celebrating Ireland’s vibrant relations with Africa,” he added.

For more information, visit www.africaday.ie.

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