Monday, 24 March 2008

A Night Out at an African Party

By Archie Bonka

I recently attended an African party held at the GŐDŐR CLUB. The party was organised by the ONE WORLD PROJECT, RADIO TILOS and THE AFRICAN-HUNGARIAN UNION.

Whilst party is part of our social life, I couldn't help wondering why most programmes involving Africans in Hungary have to be all about party.

I mean, why can't we have lectures, symposiums, forums for the enlightenment of youths and so on? This is a serious issue that I think should agitate the minds of our brothers living in Hungary.
Anyway, my first impression as I entered the club was the civil organisations' display of their logo, t-shirts and other souvenirs. Going further, I saw the FAIR TRADE stand where Babylon Shop displayed African handicrafts, clothes and musical instruments.

I quickly noticed that Babylon Shop was the only African stand at the event. Mr. Umar, a Senegalese owner of the Babylon Shop, criticised the organisers for their failure to invite a dance groupe to radiate the occasion with authentic African rhythm.

Meanwhile, I was marvelled at Loraint Attila's beautiful Masai tribal pictures on display which shows the contagious and wreathed smiles on the faces of the indigenous people. They look proud in those marvellous pictures, and I am proud that these people have managed to keep their culture and ways of life in this era of American culture that pervades our world.

It is to their credit that they have kept their culture since time immemorial up to 21st century. In case you don't know, those smiles are a symbol of Hakuna Matata.

I kept doing my things until I met the programme manager, Ms Ujszázi Gyórgyi who offered a cup of well blended coffee which according to her, comes directly from the source. Ujszázi then explained to me the significance of this fair trade.

"Due to the patiality of the World Trade Organisation concerning pricing of commodities from third World producers," she says. "the programme is to bring awareness to the general republic and consumers at large of the negative effects poor pricing have on producers from the so-called their World countires".

She was passionate when she told me that the proceeds from the sale of these commodities which are being sold in many Bio shops in Budapest would be used to upgrade the standard of living associated with these poor producers.

I also met Ms Ágnes Zolyani of TAITA foundation, a non profit organisation supporting 28 orphans whose parents died from AIDS virus in Kenya. In response to my question on where the funds came from, Ms Zolyani confides in me that such "funds usually come from individuals".

However, I was astonished to see different kinds of African musical intruments beautifully displayed at the ETNO AFRO SOUND stand. These are the instruments one can only fream of seeing in Hungary. The most interesting perhaps, is the big calabash full of water with a medium one turn upside down, and whenever you tap on the medium one upside down then you get good sound we usually get from drumming.

At the African-Hungarian Union stand were rare African wooden antiques I believe dated back from 18th century. It comes from shrines or palaces because they are not known to be privately owned. Most of these sculptures are from Benin, Congo, Guinea, Nigeria and so on. A particular one caught my attention: the Oba Ile Ife's head.

Finally, I watched the AFRO MAGIC band with its new Afro beat style with full of noise that can block ones ear drums. The show was not all that bad, but I hope the organisers would invite more Africans next time.

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