“Why we’re hosting the 2011 FESTAC-USA in Houston on Feb 18” – Florence Mkparu and the team
This feature will appear in the February 2011 print special edition of CLASSmagazine.
USAfrica, January 17, 2011: The Festival of African Culture FESTAC USA Inc, registered in the state of Texas, in 2008, seeks the cultural
showcase of the African heritage here in the U.S. The leader of the group is Florence Nkoli Mkparu who is designated as vice president. She was joined by some of their members, namely: Doreen Baker, Engr Osy Aneke, Laura Morris and Rosy Ofili Crofton and Jane Ogadi when they made a courtesy call to USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu on December 23, 2010. They said the group came to introduce their organization and share its goals with our readers.
Excerpts from our chats/meeting:
CLASSmagazine: What are the purposes and goals of your planned February 18, 2011 special event?
Florence: Historically FESTAC means Festival of African Arts and Culture. It emerged in 1956 during the meeting of Pan African Cultural Society with writers and artists of African origin to discus the resurgence of Black peoples’ culture in France. At the meeting, they resolved to propagate the value and originality of Black culture; and following that historic resolution, the first Festival was celebrated in Senegal in 1966. In 1976, that’s ten years later, the second event was celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria. Ever since, no other nation has continued with this historic event.
Now, the tradition continues in Houston, Texas, with more added pillars in ares of Health, Education, Agriculture, Economy and Democracy. These pillars should be highlighted in order to celebrate the advancement of our Arts and Culture. For us, too, our event is part of the response to U.S President Barack Obama’s call to service; hence our members decided to serve in the areas of propagating the Black culture. We, the women, decided to take the matters into our hand and make a cultural advancement effort and program for our people here in the U.S. We added these pillars in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Another reason for our event is to raise funds to build a multi-purpose African center here in Houston, with hopes to build in other cities.
CLASS: What’s the level of readiness among your members?
Florence: We are almost ready. We have members who are spreading the word, traveling to other states and places to make a success of the event. We have dedicated members who are creating extensive awareness in the community, through various activities like Tv, radio interviews, and word of mouth.
Of course, we had to come here at USAfrica and CLASSmagazine to seek your support to move our message into the mainstream.
CLASS: As an African American woman and member of this group what do think about its goals?
Doreen Baker: I think it’s a very supportive, encouraging and intelligent group of women.
CLASS: Engr. Osy, what are your thoughts?
Osy: Obviously, it will be very beneficial for all in our communities because when African people come together the young ones will learn different cultural information and ideas. It is a worthy project to implement. It is a call to service.
Rosy: Based on the plans we have at hand, we are going to expand the membership of our group. Most of our kids are lacking in language and this event will help on language awareness.
Laura: added that it is important o propagate African culture and encourage more learning. More African-Americans will learn. The desire to do something for our heritage. We see how Asians dutifully and admirably project their language and culture
Jane: This group of women have the proper and progressive attitude and dedication to move our cultural heritage forward. The FESTAC-USA 2011 is something that will bring many Africans and Americans together.
What are the key performances?
Florence: We have many performers from different groups including the Culturally Yours International, Kuumba House dancers, the group EnVogue, Donelly Jones, African masquerades and many others; they are all headliners.
How’s your funding?
Florence: We are funded by our members and community. We have not gotten money from the government.
What’s the structure of your group?
Florence & Osy: FESTAC-USA, is a non profit organization, whereby all contributions and donations are tax-deductible. FESTAC-USA is made up experienced professionals from all works of life. We have Patrons, The President/Chair Person and other supportive personnel.
CLASS: Thanks for coming to USAfrica.
Jane and Florence: Thank you very much Chido. We appreciate your works of uplifting our community. We appreciate your supporting our group at such short notice.
• Chido Nwangwu is the Founder and Publisher of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, Nigeria360, USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the largest and arguably most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and worked for the Nigerian Television Authority (news) in the 1980s; served on a publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; adviser on Africa to Houston’s former Mayor Dr. Lee Brown. Chido appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, CBSNews, ABCNews, FOXNews, NBCNews, etc. Chido@USAfricaonline.com. wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500.