Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What a day!

 Fun! Joyful! Informative! Colourful! were just some of the descriptions overheard at the May 18th Afro Fest. More than 1200 people of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed the lively festival kick off at the Manning Regional Art Gallery. Some danced and drummed with Afro Moses, while others lingered over handmade handicrafts and chatted with informative representatives from Days for Girls, HandUp Congo and Fair Trade.  Ethiopian coffee and tasty treats along with East African tea were also savoured throughout the day.

Families worked together creating amazing artworks using sticks, yarn and feathers at the Kid Zone, a fun space facilitated by Beth Fuller.  The community mosaic attracted artists large and small, as they carefully added lovely pieces of glass and stones to Anke Peeters’ rendering of a Tree of Life. Does anyone have suggestions on where this magical mosaic might find a permanent home in a community space?

African hair plaiting by Newcastle specialists as well as henna hand art by Amani Jensen-Bentley added to the fun activities in the Gallery’s garden. Wingsong Choir engaged the crowd with beautiful African harmonies, led by Telly Bertels, and Senegal migrant Linguere Bischofberger introduced African dance moves.

Tucked inside the Gallery was Cultural Connections, a photo studio set up by social documentary photographer and oral historian Louise Whelan. Festival-goers had stylised portraits taken by Louise, and recorded short oral histories. These will be part of a State Library multimedia pieced based on cultural identity and connections.

On Sunday evening, armchair globetrotters enjoyed a musical and dance journey to Africa with musicians Miriam Lieberman and Kate Adams, drummer Sibo Bangoura and dancer Lucky Lartey. Taree Mayor Paul Hogan and MP Stephen Bromhead were on hand to enjoy MC Honour Machaya’s comedy. Bass ‘n’ Blues ensured that the sound and light was top quality. Wild Fig CafĂ© provided African-inspired nibbles during intermission. Ashley Cleaver caught Lucky’s mid air leaps on camera!

Concert guests described the evening as uplifting, amazing and entertaining.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

FREE Kids Zone @ AfroFest!

Kids are invited to frolic on Sunday, May 18 at the Africa Comes to the Manning festival.  Taree’s Art Gallery will be the hub for free activities from 9:30 am to 3 pm. Organised by Tinonee resident Beth Fuller, the Kid Zone’s activities include creating leaf animals, building mobiles and making a jungle from woven trees. In addition, small groups can try African instruments with Afro Moses, a Newcastle-based musician originally from Ghana, and kids of all ages are encouraged to give African dance moves a go with Taree instructor Linguere Bischofberger, who is orginally from  Senegal. For more details about the festival’s program click here.

Dorothy Makasa Workshop - 22 May

Are you a story-teller? like crafting stories? you might consider joining
Dorothy Makasa @ the Manning Regional Art Gallery on Thursday 22nd May (2.00 -3.30) and join in the session as we share this story-telling workshop. the workshop is FREE... with a gold coin donation to Dorothy's project in Africa most appreciated. Bookings please via Manning Valley Neighbourhood Service 6553 5121 or

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Africa Comes to the Manning

The flavours, music, films and stories of Africa are heading to the Manning Valley 18-25 May.  The second annual Africa Comes to the Manning cultural festival will be based at Taree’s Manning Art Gallery, with a bounty of free activities for all ages!

This year the festival’s theme is UBUNTU, a Southern African term which means ‘human-ness’, often used to mean 'the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.