Thousands of Chicagoans crowded into Washington Park on Labor Day evening for the final night of the African Festival of the Arts (AFA). The festival goers were not disappointed when Howard Hewett and Rose Royce took to the stage and delivered some show stopping performances. The concerts were a culmination of four days of African-influenced food, music, shopping, dance and entertainment. Nearly 300 vendors and artisans offered their artifacts, textiles, traditional crafts, and museum-quality art for sale to festival goers. The near perfect weekend weather drew impressive crowds, particularly for Monday evening.
The theme of this year’s festival was Ruwadzano, which means ‘togetherness’ in the Shona language. During this year’s event, AIH recognized the impact togetherness has in relationships, in business, and in service to community. This year’s Grand Baba was WGN’s Robert Jordan and the Grand Yeye was Diane Dinkins-Carr. Michelle Relerford of NBC 5 Chicago emceed the recognition alongside WGCI’s Dana Devine and Morocco Omari of the hit series Empire.
This year’s event also featured a tribute to Shelby Moore of Crawford Broadcasting, who was a board member of Africa International House, the non-profit umbrella organization that hosts the African Festival of the Arts.