Festival celebrates African cultures in Sydney

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Australia's largest African festival has returned to Sydney once again, attracting crowds who watched poetry, music, dancing and more.

Sydney's multicultural heart transformed into Little Africa this morning.

Stalls representing 42 African nations lined Lidcombe’s Wyatt Park for the annual Africultures Festival.

Now in its eighth year, it is Australia's largest African festival, attracting more and more people each year from across the country.

From Somali Sambusa to traditional Ethopian dancing, the free event celebrates Africa's rich heritage and diverse cultures.

"It's the biggest fun party in the world,” Africultures volunteer Eyob Yesus told SBS News.

“No one can party like Africans.”

Nigerian singer Price Johnson said it was an honour to perform at this year’s festival.

"I think it's phenomenal to stand up and say ‘Hey I'm a proud African and I'm here in another land making my mark’," the 22-year-old said.

This year there was a new addition to the festival program - Story Hour, a platform for emerging African poets and writers in Australia to showcase their talent.

One of the artists writer Mawunyo Gbogbo recited a passage from her upcoming memoir.

A passionate storyteller, Ms Gbogbo said she hoped her reading at this year’s festival encouraged other African artists to be confident.

"Diverse voices in literature is really important and so if there is any way I can contribute to that, that is great," she said.

Somalian student Hani Abdile, who recently migrated to Sydney, also took the opportunity to recite her own poem.

While penning ‘Mama Africa’, the 20-year-old said she learnt more about herself and her culture.

“Many Africans have a beautiful story to share but, actually, nobody gives them the chance to speak but Story Hour allows you to express yourself and your culture," she said.

The festival was also a opportunity for African asylum seekers to sign up to programs, such as the government-funded Youth Transition Support Program, to help them settle in Australia.

Hundreds of African asylum seekers are accepted in Australia every year, and Sudanese social support worker Acualth Acol said many who had fled war-torn countries arrived with little education.

“This festival is important for Australians to learn where these young people are coming from,” Mr Acol said.

“But at the same time it is important for the new arrivals to understand the Australian way of the life and how they can contribute.”

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