Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Arantxa Cedillo
Toronto, Ontario AfroFest 2007
Music Africa was formed in 1990 to promote AfroFest, a two-day event held in July at Queens
Park that celebrates Africa in all its wondrous diversity. Otimoi Oyemu has been Music Africa's
president since 2004.
"Every year, we create an African village, an African oasis in downtown Toronto, where people
can share African music, culture and cuisine. There is a spirit of friendship and family. Africa
has more than fifty sovereign nations and we are a big part of the fabric of Africans living here
in Canada. At AfroFest, we have three stages: a main drumming stage, a youth stage and a
workshop stage, where people can try out African instruments such as a seven-string harp from
Ethiopia. There are African crafts and clothing, jewelry, art and, of course, the music. We share our
culture with all and offer a chance to connect or to reconnect with North, South, East, West and
Central Africa. There are no tensions here, just friendship and celebration."
Otimoi says the Ontario Trillium Foundation has given Music Africa three grants and the monies
put toward AfroFest have been deeply appreciated. What began as a small celebration in 1990 is
now a huge, and costlier, community affair. More than one hundred thousand people were part of
it in 2007.