Afrofest 2023 in Moscow: Opportunity to Embrace Diverse African Cultures
16:59 26.08.2023 (Updated: 18:43 26.08.2023)
On August 26, Russia's capital city of Moscow hosts the third edition of the international festival of African culture Afrofest. The festival features music, food, concerts, exhibitions, and workshops. The main purpose of the event is to broaden cultural horizons and destroy stereotypes about the continent that have been formed over the years.
Major cultural events such as Afrofest provide a great opportunity for African people to manifest their culture and traditions, while allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the unique African spirit, said Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Ripepeto Goncalves, interim military attache at Angolan Embassy in Russia, in an interview with Sputnik Africa.
Goncalves, who attended Afrofest along with many Africans willing to showcase their culture, Russians and other nationals interested in Africa, its history and traditions
, shared his impressions of the event, highlighting its educational value.
"This event is a very crucial opportunity for us to share with those who are going to come to this place, to share our culture, to let the world know that Africa is identified by a variety of cultures," Goncalves said.
According to the Angolan official
, Afrofest is a "very unique opportunity" to learn more about the continent and its cultures. He noted that many people think of Africa as a "single country," with one people and one culture.
However, he emphasized, there is a whole range of magnificent cultures in Africa, "one continent with different peoples and different cultures." In this regard, he added, it's important to promote these cultures and thus highlight the concept of multiculturalism in building a multilateral global architecture.
"No, Africa is a continent where you can find different people with different cultures and civilizations," Goncalves stressed, adding: "No culture is better than [others], but if we put together all the cultures, we can make a very good combination and people can share their way of being, manifest their beliefs."
Goncalves also noted that the best way to promote African culture is to organize these kinds of events where Africans can showcase their culture, bringing some of the typical foods, costumes and traditional dresses, thus manifesting "their beliefs, their spirit and their way of being."
Speaking about the promotion and protection of African culture, another Sputnik Africa
interviewee, Marc Sodomon, a doctoral student at the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU) and a university teacher
, stressed the need to respect all the world's cultures
, not to copy others and to pass on one's own culture from generation to generation.
According to Sodomon, a Beninese, who has been studying in Russia for four years, it is important to transmit African cultural values and history "from father to son" so that people can appreciate and understand the continent's diverse cultures.
"Within Africa, each people, each country has its own culture and we respect that culture. We want everyone in the world to respect the culture of each country. We cannot impose a culture on a country and say, 'You have to live like us, you have to do like us,'" Sodomon stated.
Expressing his view on the place of African culture in the modern world, Sodomon explained that culture is the image of any people and nation, what identifies and differentiates them. Therefore, for Africans, their culture and the issue of its preservation are of particular importance.
"And African culture today is well appreciated by the whole world and we are proud to be the carriers of the voices of this culture and to be able to transmit this culture, to share it with the other people," he said.
Russian Education for Africans
Both Sputnik Africa's interlocutors studied in Russia's universities and shared their impressions of the country's educational system.
Goncalves, who ran two academic programs from the bachelor up to the master's degree in Russia, is now a PhD law student at the Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN). According to the interim military attache, Russia has "a great and very effective educational program
" that provides opportunities to gain in-depth expertise and universal knowledge of a particular subject.
He recalled that since African countries acquired independence, Russia has been giving African people the opportunity to study in its universities and thus use their knowledge to support new independent nations on their development path.
Marc Sodomon, for his part, noted that he, like all Africans, appreciates Russian education due to the long history
of educational ties between the country and the continent.
"I think, as you know, all Africans today are interested in Russian education because Russia has helped us a lot in the past and continues to help us and we really want to thank them for that. And we are also proud to share the education we have here in Russia with the whole world," he said.
Sodomon went on to say that even though industrial production in Africa is growing in a very accelerated pace, the continent is still lagging behind in certain areas of development. This is the main reason for the continent to train and look for competent managers in the field of industrialization
, including energy, construction, robotics, medicine. Against this background, Russia, with its vast experience in these areas, could help the continent to train its own specialists and advance the industrialization process.