What makes Southern Africans unique? Is it how we see the world? Is it the norms and values instilled in us by our parents in Africa? Is it the African ‘village’ that raised us? Is it the solid foundations our DNA give us, in a unique existence on the southern tip of the continent?
An outsider would say that Southern Africans see bright colour in everything, are proud of their culture, have rhythm in their blood, and are soulful. Most importantly we are united by our extraordinary history, our wonderful humour, warm memories and the marvels of Africa.
I am African…first and foremost, but I am also French and Dutch Huguenots and British blood from County Durham. I often feel like I am in ‘no man’s land’, but the African in me is strong and I am so proud of my heritage , my culture and my people. For so many different reasons we are scattered all over the planet, but Southern Africa is where our hearts are … always.
And by bringing us together to share and celebrate what makes us so special, we can refuel our souls and keep our fingers on the African pulse. Welcome to Celebrate Southern Africa, where we can rejoice in being Southern African.
Celebrate Southern Africa started as a small get-together, comedy show and braai in Gloucester. It was such a success that many enthusiastic Southern Africa supporters asked for a larger event where Southern Africans can gather to reminisce. It is natural for us to want to share our African culture, great cuisine, familiar African rhythms and the hospitable friendliness that epitomises the African continent. This inspired opportunities for Southern African businesses, and so the “Celebrate Southern Africa” Market was born.
In June 2016, Celebrate South Africa took the South West of England by storm! The market was held at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, Somerset. Forty stalls celebrated all aspects of Southern African culture. About 2,000 people joined us from around the UK to enjoy food, music, crafts, art, Southern African services, jewellery, Southern African charities, clothing, photography, dog grooming, health and beauty products, braai equipment, South African books – and the privilege of meeting the authors -toys, furniture….and so much more. Families arrived in Somerset from as far as the Midlands for the day, and some even flew in from Ireland for the weekend. Many families camped at one of the fabulous local sites, taking the opportunity to explore the county of Somerset, Bath, Longleat and the safari park, a couple of miles from Frome and National Trust and English Heritage sites in Somerset.
The 2017 & in 2018 market had over 50 stalls and about 3,000 people came from around the UK & Ireland to celebrate Southern Africa with us.
After the hugely successful Southern African weekend, we had to do it again! This time it will be even bigger and better (is that possible?)
In 2019 we celebrated at the Trowbridge Civic Centre, Wiltshire. As always there was fun, laughter, catching up with friends, making new friends and sharing our culture with our friends and families.
But, why stop at a market? So, we have expanded to celebrate Southern African writers in our hugely successful blog and the Celebrate Southern African podcast is now available on iTunes, Spotify, RadioPublic , Stitcher and CastBox.
We are so proud to bring so many Southern Africans together in so many different format – this is who we are, and for us it is all about ubuntu!
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