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Upcoming African Festival Helps Unite Siouxland Through Culture, Food, and Fun

This weekend, a cultural event hopes to unite the community through fun and food. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer has more.

A festival focusing on Africa hopes to spread conversation and camaraderie this weekend.

Billy Oyadare is the President of the Siouxland African Association, which organizes the annual gathering.

Interview with Billy Oyadare of the Siouxland African Association.mp3

“We want to know our neighbors, our new hosts, and they want to know us so we can build an endearing relationship.”

The event started in a church fellowship room eight years ago and now enjoys a much larger venue.

“Now, the crowd has grown, so we moved it to Riverside Park. And then we now have entertainment the first year, we just have plays music, but now we have bands and big sponsors.”

Oyadare says the celebration serves as a way to teach others about Africa through taste and sound.

Interview with Billy Oyadare of the Siouxland African Association.mp3
President of SA Fest Billy Oyadare

“So, it's a kind of you get to know me, I get to know you. And people have questions. What does it look like to live in Africa? Moving from Africa to the United States? How is it different? What are the similarities? Okay, now, when you have so many questions, the best way to do it is over food. Okay, so that's why we are organizing this. The food is free. The entertainment is free.”

Oyadare believes some people still have misconceptions about his homeland.

“What I think the biggest is to think that Africa is a country, not a continent. And then to think that everybody in Africa speaks the same language. That is not true. In fact, in Nigeria, where I come from, there are over 200 languages, 200 languages not. We are not talking about dialects, but languages.”

Oyadare moved to the United States in 1999, graduated from Drake Law School, and moved to Sioux City to work with the state public defender’s office almost 18 years ago.

“It’s been a very good community. We love the people. We love the place.”

Love for both Africa and America will be on display for the whole community to see on Saturday at the African Festival at Riverside Park from 2 until 8 p.m.

Attendees can hear drumming by Kofi Dennis. He will be performing at the African Festival. He will also be doing traditional African storytelling and drumming at the Aalfs Downtown Library Saturday, August 6, 2022,from 10 to 11 a.m.

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