My favourite festival Africa Utopia is back at the Southbank Centre from the 31st August - 4th September and it looks better than ever. I normally come for the fashion and stay for the food but this year now that I have much more control over my time, I shall make it my mission to absorb as much Utopia as possible.
The festival is a mix of panel discussions, theatre, music, food, workshops and fashion. There is lots to do and you can get a full lowdown of what is on here. I am particularly looking forward to:
#How to Fix Nigeria - Dismantling Patriarchy: This panel discussion from The Royal African Society gets a big thumbs up from me. I'm Nigerian and a woman so I have a vested interest in the topic. Looking forward to some healthy debate. Free Event
Mandela Trilogy: The Cape Town Opera is bringing the Mandela story to the stage. I've always wanted to attend an opera and what better way to pop my opera cherry than with the story of Mandela. Tickets start from £20
Expensive Sh*t by Adura Onashile: This play performed by an all-female cast explores social dynamics through the lens of a Nigerian nightclub toilet attendant. The premise sounds fascinating and I can't wait to see this. Tickets start from £12
Africa Utopia Cook Off: This hour long interactive event will show you how some of Africa's greatest dishes are cooked. I love cookery shows and I love African food. It's a win win. Free Event
Fashion Undressed at Africa Utopia: This is the highlight of the festival for me as the catwalk show never fails to disappoint. It's well curated and the designers always reflect modern African fashion. This year there will be talks including one from Maame Adjei on going Beyond Prints and from Styled By Africa on going from blogging to owning a boutique. There will also be a workshop where you can learn crafting techniques and make your own accessories. The catwalk shows are free to attend but some of the talks require a day pass.
The reason I love the festival so much is the vibe. It draws a great mix of people and the atmosphere has always been electric. The range of activities reflect how diverse the continent is. I've attended solo and with friends and I had a great time on both occasions.
Some of the events are ticketed but a lot of it is free. You can buy day passes and weekend passes that give you access to exclusive talks and events. Prices start from about £12 for individual events, day passes are £15 and weekend passes are £25.
Look out for my posts (there will definitely be more than one) covering the event and please do share your thoughts on the festival in the comments.