Africa Month celebration aimed to encourage positive representations of Africa
7 June 2012
Sophie Nakueira, an LLM student who was a driving force behind Celebrating Africa through Fabric event, shared her thoughts on the intention of the show.
”Africa is often portrayed as a continent riddled with political, economic, racial, tribal and cultures issues. And although that may be true, we often forget to celebrate the positive aspects of the continent. There is major discontent by many Africans that the West misrepresents or exaggerates these issues. At the Faculty of Law, these issues are debated on, written about and we listen to lectures on the rights of people across a broad range of areas.
”So when we were approached to come up with interesting ways to celebrate Africa Day we thought about doing it in a way that highlights the cultural, racial, tribal diversity in a positive way. African fabric seemed to be one of those avenues to showcase the contested nature of African identity. It would force us to start conversations about what it means to be African.
”We approached various African local entrepreneurs who are trying to earn a living through making African clothes, selling African food or doing African hair, among other things. All the exhibitors here have a remarkable story. They come from different African countries, face various barriers in their industries and one way through which rights such as economic rights, the right to dignity, right to housing, can be realised is through empowering, encouraging and acknowledging how various people from the African continent realise those rights. To these people, those rights -although important - mean nothing if they don't have food, can’t keep a roof over their head or have nothing on their back. So we thought that this was one way to extend that conversation into ways that are more inclusive, something that debates on African issues may not always do.”