The community of Yeoville is home to a diverse and large migrant community, coming from every corner of the world. On 21 May, kicking off Africa Week, CMFD and the Africa Diaspora Forum, with support from the Foundation for Human Rights, hosted a pan-African celebration that included a music concert, soccer tournament, human rights information exhibit and guests speakers, as well as a radio documentary of the event. The concert featured the pan-African songs of Maputo-based group Sigauque Project; noted Congolese musicians Marco Don K1st and Blancho du Pouvoir’s international Afro pop with Rumba flair; West and South African rythms and raggae beats from Mazola (Lion Silver Dread); Katlehong entertainers Blue Boy Pantsula; and the South African classical sounds of Seeds of Lights. The event also featured Zolani Mkiva, renowned Poet of Africa, one of the youngest practitioners of one of the oldest oral traditions in Africa, kubonga, or praise singing - all in the name of focusing attention on migrant’s rights as human rights.
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Africa Week Kick-off tournament
The tournament was part of the “Many Faces, One Africa: Migrants’ Rights Are Human Rights Pan-African Celebration,” and is the latest in an ongoing series of friendly matches organised by ADF meant to foster good relations among all Africans living in the community. “Sport, soccer in particular, can bring people together to celebrate their ‘Africaness,’ says tournament organiser and ADF member Ikani Cyprian. “It is a chance to celebrate African unity in diversity.” The contest took place from 8.00am to 11:00 a.m., at the Yeoville Boys Primary school. All soccer fans where invited to bring their vuvuzelas to cheer on their favourite team and add their voices to the call for unity. The winning team was awarded at a ceremony during the event at the Yeoville Recreation Centre.
Musicians treated audiences to a pan-African concert in the name of celebrating diversity, tolerance, and multi-cultural appreciation. Africa Day is celebrated annually on the 25th of May to mark the 1963 founding of the African Union. The 21 May event also commemorated the xenophobic attacks that rocked South Africa in May 2008, reminding people that such violence must never happen again.
Information exhibit Human rights organisations were invited to participate in the event, to be on hand to distribute materials and provide information in order to help inform people about their rights, as well as where to get assistance. Organisations who will be distributing materials at the event include the International Organization for Migration, Sonke Gender Justice, Black Sash and the Refugee Children's Project.
A radio journalist was tasked to create a musical documentary of the day. This included interviews with musicians, rights-based organisations who have information on display, and people attending the event. This provided a powerful media piece about music and culture, as well as highlight practical information about xenophobia and migrant rights. The audio report was distributed to radio stations and was available for people to listen to online. In this way the messages reach further than the event. It is important for the documentary to be used as a way to dispelling stereotypes and share some of the Diaspora culture with African listeneners.
Significant attention will be put into attracting media for this unique event, as a way for the message that migrant rights are human rights goes to a wider population. In another separate activity, CMFD Productions hosted a workshop with 5 community radio journalists working together with 5 migrants to produce radio documentaries on migration issues. By inviting the same journalists to the event, encouraged community media to cover what is happening.