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Africa has a place in London during the Olympics. Surrounded by the green area of Hyde Park and the statues and emblematic buildings of South Kensington stands Africa Village, an area where 16 countries from the continent showcase their culture, artistic manifestations and sporting. Also, the exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to learn about African traditions and buy autochthonous materials.
Courtesy of BBC
The aim is to create a space where African culture can come to life during the Olympics and provide a space for positive relations", explained Emma Greaves, event manager of Africa Village. "So far it is been going very well", she added.
The entrance to this area is free (from 10 am to 9pm), and it was opened in accordance to the Games, after the opening ceremony, on July 28th and it will run until August 12th. Every participant country has a stand to display their particular nation: Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Gabon, Cote D'Ivore, Bostwana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Republic of the Congo and Togo.
Everyday a country is honoured and has access to the VIP area and the stage to share their culture with the Olympic public through acts, theatre, talks and films.
Africa Village takes after the spirit of the Olympics as it is a communion of cultures that brings together people from all over the world. Non-profit organisations that stand up for fair causes in the African continent (i.e. AMREF requesting more African midwives), traditional dresses, artistic objects, paintings and so on are part of the ambience as African music plays in the background and exotic food is available for purchase.
Where it all started", Egypt, as a worldwide influential culture, traces millenniums back to magnificent and significant artistic manifestations like Nefertiti's bust and the pyramids. The country Gabon displays affordable precious wooden stone from the national park (this country supports cycling and organises the African Cup this year).
Tunisia brings to London the mosaic of Virgil and Neptune while Rwanda offers the visitor its coffee, tea, hot pepper chili. From the north of Africa, Morocco brings its candles, mats, authentic cous cous sauce, at the time it offers sofas for people to interact with a display of tea cups, mats and tea pots. Lastly, Libya shows its ancestral culture through pictures. In the end of the aisle, there is a big screen with pictures of Olympic heroes on the side that mainly makes tribute to the tracking team, the biggest athletic African pride.
Under the shadow of the Royal Albert Hall, Africa Village broadens horizons and opens minds. The vast diversity of the African nations in display breaks the image of the continent as bearing a single identity.