PANAFEST 2010 was part of a series of events commemorating September as African Heritage Month in Montgomery County, Maryland. The event was held at the Plaza of the Silver Spring Civic Center, at One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.
This festival really made history as the first of its kind in Montgomery County for the African community. Billed as an outdoor event attracting the vibrant and active community in the Downtown Silver Spring. The festival showcased the rich African culture in an open and public event. It was hugely successful, well organized, well executed, very timely and fun for the entire family.
2010 is a special year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence of the 17 African nations that became independent in 1960. These nations include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Togo.
The event kicked off on time with a long procession of Government Officials, African Royalties and Festival organizers. The beautiful display of African colors was beaming in the sunlight as the celebrants made it to their seats at the arena. The reigning Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah, elegantly dressed by one of Africa’s finest Designers, Salome from Uganda, was ushered on to the Stage to introduce a very special member of the African Royal Family, non other than the female King. Yes, a King from Ghana and she is a she. Her Royal Highness King Peggy of Ghana opened the ceremony in grand style as the temperature in Silver Spring continued to rise in mid afternoon. King Peggy resides in Maryland and controls her Kingdom in Ghana from the United States, very amazing indeed. King Peggy was crowned King after her uncle the late king passed away.
A Proclamation was issued by the Governor of Maryland and that proclamation recognizing the Pan-African Festival for uniting the community, was hand delivered and pronounced by non other than the Lt Governor Brown. He read the proclamation and had the crowd respond in a very enthusiastic manner as each paragraph was read. The proclamation was presented to the Festival organizers as seen above.
The event was graced by His Excellency Ambassador George Haley, former US Ambassador to the Gambia and brother to the Author of the book Roots (Alex Haley), pictured above with ACCDF Inc Chairman Ivo Tasong and Mr. Jewru Bandeh.
There was huge number of African Americans recognized for having traced heir genetic roots to the Motherland through DNA testing. The Festival encouraged more African-Americans to do so and to connect with Africa and help put a closure to their past and ancestry.
Check out Miss Africa’s outfit designed by Salome Fashions. The African Fashion Designer Salome’s fashion line is inspired by her roots, Uganda – also known as the Pearl of Africa.
Miss Africa USA Fatoumata (Fifi) Soumah was interviewed by Access Montgomery TV, regarding her views on the festival as a whole. As part of her reign, Queen Fifi continues to support community events promoting a positive image of Africa in the diaspora.
Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah was there to shake hands with fans, answer questions they have about Africa and her reign as Queen and also pose for pictures. She was happy to see that the festival attracted a very diverse crowd who wanted to learn more about Africa and share the culture.
Miss Africa USA Fifi Soumah signed a lot of Autographs and handed her winning poem which she performed at the pageant, titled ‘The Girl in Me’. The children loved her as a positive African Role model they can look up to.
From the Miss Africa Team represented at the PANAFEST 2010, Lady Kate Njeuma, Queen Fifi Souma and Princess Priscilla Boateng, we say CONGRATULATIONS TO THE PANAFEST TEAM and we hope to be part of an even bigger and better Panafest 2011.
Leaving you with this beautiful fruit display by non-other than the top African Chef in Maryland AUNTIE LEOCADIE. Her edible delights will make your mouth water for ever…….Big Up to Auntie Leocardie African Cuisine.