The West Africa Development (WAD) Community based in Tameside has for the first time in the world created “AFRICASPIRIT” a giant djembe which represents unity, freedom, equality and cultural reflection. Although the Sato drum is the big drum in Africa, the djembe has become the most popular African drum to be played outside of Africa and there are many people learning how to play it all over the world. The djembe is a West African drum that is believed to have come from the Malinke people in the Northeast of Guinea. The djembe migrated to the Mali Empire in the 9th Century and is now found in many countries across the world.
African drums (the Djembe is an important example) tell us a lot about the African vision of life and African arts. Djembe was originally created as a sacred drum to be used in healing ceremonies, rites of passage, ancestral worship, warrior rituals, as well as social dances. The drum rhythm of Djembe is performed in the evening for most celebrations, especially during full moon, spring, summer and winter harvesting time, weddings, baptisms, honouring of mothers, immediately after Ramadan (fasting month for Muslims) and countless other celebrations. The one thing that Djembe and all the African drums have in common is the ability to communicate. They can deliver messages of good or bad news. They give off messages in the rhythm of beats and through the spirit that lives within the African drum.
Made in Adjara, a village deep in the heart of Benin in West Africa, the Africaspirit weighs in at 20kgs, is 40 inches tall and has a 20 inch playing surface. Made with Marabier wood (a special wood used in traditional medicine to treat stomach pain and malaria, etc…), covered with raffia and “Ove” along the diameter and with mock-panther skin and corries donated by the Chief of the Thron Alafia temple in Benin. Decorating the base of the Africaspirit are the portraits of President Nelson Mandela, a portrait of the Legend Bob Marley and the first African female President Ellen Johnson, as these are key African figures recognised throughout the world. The Africaspirit drum is a great solid drum with beautiful clear sound that is unmatched by any other drum of that size anywhere in the industry. It has amazing tones characterized by a well-sustained bass sound which can heard distinctly.
WHY AFRICASPIRIT IN GREAT BRITAIN?
- The British Museum in London with its collection of more than seven million objects is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world, sourced from every continent, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. Being one of the largest and most populated cities of Europe, London, the United Kingdom’s capital is a cosmopolitan area in which a highly diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions coexist today with more than 300 different languages spoken in London’s streets by its permanent residents according to a Guardian newspaper editorial. Africaspirit Arrived in the UK in August 2012 from the Republic of Benin, to promote African cultural exchange by West African Development (WAD) in Tameside. This registered charity (no 1132899) was founded in 2005 and works with ethnic minorities and refugees and asylum seekers at a grassroots level to improve their quality of life, break down barriers to advice and training and integrate people from different backgrounds. WAD’s aims are to:
- Integrate people from different backgrounds and minority ethnic groups to break social barriers
- Improve the quality of life and raise people’s self esteem by organising meetings and activities such as cultural events like dancing and drumming and sporting and arts activities for all the community
- Provide information on training, health and social care, crime reduction, employment, benefit advice and volunteering opportunities
- Participate in and make links with appropriate partners/networks within Tameside and elsewhere to ensure that black and minority ethnic people and refugees and asylum seekers have a voice.
- The relief of poverty, in particular but not exclusively, for the people of West Africa.
MESSAGE BEHIND AFRICASPIRIT
As is well known to all, Africans had been traded as slaves for centuries and historically the continent has suffered as a result of the expansion of European Empires. Today we need to change this mentality and move towards the creation of an equal society regardless of culture, religion, sex, language and political opinion. West African Development (WAD) welcomes everyone to see and experience our Africaspirit project. We have also invited the following people to experience our Africaspirit project, have fun and experience another culture:
Her Majesty Elizabeth II (UK), 2- Princess Kate (UK) , 3-Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (South Africa),4- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), 5-Tarja Halonen (Finland), 6-Mary Mc Aleese (Ireland),7-Doris Leuthard (Suisse), 8-Dalia Grybauskaite (Lithuania), 9- Angela Merkel (Germany), 10-Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), 11-Cristina Kirchner (Argentine), 12-Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), 13-Michelle Obama (USA), 14-Roza Otounbaieva (Kirghizstan), 15-Pratibha Patil (India), 16- Julia Gillard (Australia)
THE EXHIBITION IS PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE ACROSS UK AND FURTHER AFIELD FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH ETC.
West African Development was set up in 2005 and has been a registered charity since 2009. We are based in Tameside in the North West. We were set up to work with those of West African origin, but not exclusively. Read More