Updated: Dec 13, 2019
On the weekend of 12th – 14th July 2019 I attended a Southern African festival in Horsham, UK named CeleBRAAItion 2019
There are a few of these festivals held around, primarily England during the summer months.
There are many South African (and Southern African) citizens now calling the UK their home. Some have been here for 20+ years, some having only immigrated. For those not familiar with South African history, it was a nation-state of the British Empire from 1910 – 1961 (British occupation dates back to 1795) so many recent generations of South African’s have English heritage.
Why the need for these festivals?
Whilst I can only personally speak for my own experiences and why I attend these events, the story seems to be the same with most of the people I meet there. It basically boils down to “being with my own”.
And before there are shouts of “you bloody foreigner!”, “go back to where you came from” etc, let me explain that if you will.
What this means to me, is the ability to talk about South Africa in ways we couldn’t possibly do with British folk. We can use language and slang that doesn’t require translation or explanation. We can tell those South African jokes we just wouldn’t tell the British because it would simply result in a lot of explaining.
It also means partying to the music you remember partying to ‘back home’. You can drink South African beers, cider and spirits. Eat authentic food from back home. And stand around a fire (NOT GAS!) and discuss in detail the way to cook the ‘perfect steak’.
And you can laugh and party until the sun comes up on both mornings.
My personal highlights of the weekend (the first time I’ve attended this particular event) were meeting so many new, really cool people. I spent most of the weekend laughing, eating and drinking.
Great entertainment, including live solo singer-guitarist, karaoke and disco. African Dancers. Gymnasts, Stilt Walkers and so much more.
Competitions for best potjie (like a stew cooked on an open fire(NOT GAS!)). Best dressed child. Best dressed for the 60’s themed disco.
Running into or overhearing racists and racist comments. Simply a personal dislike. And before you assume that ALL South African’s are racist, I can categorically say this is not the case. I’ve met equally as many racist British folk. It’s a part of society I tend to distance myself from. There is likely to be a separate post on this topic!
So if you’re a Southern African or simply interested in experiencing Southern African culture, food and drink pop along to the FaceBook group to keep abreast of the plans for next years event.
The event organisers have a limited amount of glamping tents for those who can’t be bothered with the full camping experience.
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