Mama Africa Festival in Chernihiv Celebrates Cultures From Throughout the Continent

Culture of Ukraine, Ukraine

A Ukrainian farm in the Chernihiv region was transformed into an African settlement for 3 days. More than a hundred people from countries across Africa showcased the fascinating world of their cultures during the “Mama Africa” festival. Handmade products, national dishes, amazing music and traditional dances — our UATV team had a chance to experience this and more.

Medun is from Senegal. “Ty Zh Mene Pidmanula”  is the his favourite Ukrainian song. Although he doesn’t know the lyrics perfectly, he loves Ukraine with all his heart. Medun has been living here for 5 years. This is the first time his family has visited him here.

“They came here, and my goal is to show Ukraine. They think that Ukraine is like Russia. And this is not true. I want to show them that Ukraine is Ukraine. It has its own culture. Ukrainian culture is amazing. I adore Ukrainian folk songs,” says Medun, “Mama Africa Festival” participant from Senegal.

At the “Mama Africa” festival, Medun shows Ukrainians the traditions of his homeland. There are about 100 representatives of different African countries at the festival. Here, Nigerian women are giving Maryna a traditional hairstyle, and she is definitely enjoying the process.

Visitors could try and could even cook African dishes here. And sometimes the food was surprisingly similar to European ones.

Visitors didn’t waste a minute getting their hands on the finished product. And then they tried the legendary Ethiopian coffee. In Ethiopia, coffee is roasted three times. Clayware is used for this purpose. Ethiopians add salt to coffee, instead of sugar. They drink it very often.

“We drink coffee at weddings, during holidays. We can’t talk to our family and friends without coffee. Even when a husband and wife have quarrels, they also drink coffee,” says Woodie, “Mama Africa Festival” participant from Ethiopia.

This was the first year the “Mama Africa” festival was held in Ukraine. Organizers say they show Ukrainians the richness and uniqueness of African cultures.

“Having visited Africa, I learned to feel joy. Earlier I couldn’t imagine that it’s possible to work with a pick-axe in the 40-degree heat, construct the foundation of a high-rise building and smile at the same time, be happy here and now. All of them are such people,” explains Leonid Kanter, Organizer of “Mama Africa” Festival.

Members of the Ukrainian choir “Berehynia” have also come to the fest.

“We’ve received lot of emotions, from songs, from communication. People of a completely different culture welcomed us very warmly,” says Vira Melnyk, Head of  “Berehynia” choir.

Here we get to listen once again to the beautiful song “Ty Zh Mene Pidmanula” performed at the African festival. Now this time by members of the Ukrainian folk choir who feel quite at home.




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