Festival celebrates African community


Ireland’s African community was embraced today at a festival in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Africa Day celebrated the social and cultural diversity of the continent through music, film, art and sport.

Sinead O’Connor, Kila, Mundy, and Republic of Loose performed at the free family event. Ugandan drummers, Kenyan acrobats, traditional Nigerian dance, Congolese folk singers and gospel choirs also entertained the crowds.

The Irish Aid-funded event was just one of more than 50 staged in 21 counties across the country to mark the date.

More than 40,000 people born in Africa are living in Ireland, with the majority coming from Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Congo. Census figures showed that 20,000 of those were living in the capital.

Integration Minister Conor Lenihan said the event presented us all with a great opportunity to learn more about African culture and traditions.

“Ireland has a long history of association with the continent of Africa through the Irish missionaries and NGOs but more recently through immigration,” he said.

“According to the Census of 2006 Africans now make up 8 per cent of Ireland’s new communities.

“In the light of these strong connections it is only appropriate that we celebrate this day.”

Mr Lenihan said intercultural dialogue and interaction are key building blocks of a properly integrated and cohesive society.

“An integrated society is vital if we are not to fall into the pitfalls of some of our European neighbours,” he added.