Awash with vibrant colour, Africa Day was in full swing when I arrived. Outside, I met a semi-retired photographer from the Connacht Tribune, called Stan, and he’s talking to some very colourfully dressed Africans that are involved in the show and so I decide to say a quick “How are you?”
“I’m having an awful hard time spelling these names,” he says, “and you have to get them right or you could be sued.”
“Is that right?” I ask.
“It is,” he replies and proceeds to tell me of a case in England where a newspaper was sued for 50 grand for having published someone’s name wrong in the paper. Worrying stuff indeed.
As I’m talking to him, the wing mirror of a car clips my arm as it comes to a stop and a very daintily dressed man gets out of the passenger side, says, “Sorry” to which I reply, “Not to worry, it barely touched me and he then asks, “You wanna take my picture?” and I reply happily, “I sure do!”
Inside there is half a dozen women dancing on the stage with a rhythm that is fantastic and I’m instantly lost in the beat.
After this there is a Masquerade dance, which is a Nigerian tradition and it is supposed to be symbolic of the living dead. The Igbo people believe that people never die, but, rather, remain in an immortal state. Whether one believes this or not, it is quite a spectacle with a definite spookiness to it and I almost jumped from my skin at least once during the performance.
The final act of the day was a group of school girls who performed a very impressive dance routine which was a lovely performance to finish with.
Subsequent to all the fun, the MC invited everyone to try some of the free food that was on offer throughout the hall. There was food from Malawi, Kenya, South Africa and many other places besides. He advised people that while the food was free, if they ate too much and made a mess of the toilet then they might have to pay some money to clean it up. While this was hilarious, I decided not to be overly greedy with my sampling of the cuisine as I wasn’t entirely sure what it was.
After stuffing my face with some of the offerings, I contently departed with the thought that Galway is definitely richer for having such a widespread and charistmatic array of cultures. Walking to my car, there was a very cheerful lady who looked like she was having a picnic on my boot and so I took it as an opportunity to ask her about her flamboyant attire. Apparently it’s Nigerian festive wear. It’s very lovely, isn’t it? 🙂