The best of African culture in London: our guide to London's festivals, food, carnivals and events
Don't miss our pick of the best ways to celebrate African culture in the capital with this comprehensive guide to London's festivals, carnivals and events
1. Africa Centre Summer Festival - 1st Aug 2015
Kicking off on the 1st of August, The Africa Centre are hosting a spectacular Summer Festival in Covent Garden, filled with raucous performances, fashion, dance and tempting African dishes. Celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Africa by exploring its whirlwind photography exhibition and vibrant sounds.
2. African Summer, Horniman Museum, 5th - 30th Aug 2015
The Horniman Museum African Summer festival is setting south London alight with the beats and rhythm of African Culture. Throughout August, pay a visit from 11am - 3.30pm for a riot of African-inspired activities. Every Wednesday there is a new focus, from Beatbox to the Lindy Hop.
3. African Street Style - 26th July 2015
Head to Shoreditch for a raucous festival of African performances, fashion and music, featuring stylist Samson SOBOYE, documentary film screenings at Calvert 22 art gallery, visual art installations and fantastic dance by choreographer Irineu Noguiera. If you're peckish, don't miss out on Zoe Adjonyoh's delicious Ghana-inspired menu!
4. Africa Utopia, Southbank Centre, 10 - 13th September 2015
On London's bustling riverfront you'll find the third annual Africa Utopia festival causing a stir at the Southbank Centre. From legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and scrumptious African street-food to the first Black and Minority Ethnic classical symphony orchestra in Europe alongside fierce talks and debates: there is plenty to enjoy!
African Art Fair
5. 1.54 Contemporary African Art Fair, 15th - 18th Oct 2015
Though African Art has long been brushed aside by a historically western-centred art market, this interesting new platform for galleries, artists, curators, and museums involved in Africa-related projects strives to bring this under-appreciated genre to the fore. Now in its third year s, 1.54 will showcase a plethora of the continent's established and emerging talents to a rapidly growing an audience of collectors, buyers, consumers and artists.
African Art Exhibitions
6. Pangaea II, Saatchi Gallery, 11th Mar - 6th Sept 2015
Taking its name from the 300 million year old proto-landmass that covered the Earth, this exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery gathers work from contemporary artists working across the since separated sister continents of Africa and South America. Filled with striking paintings and photorealistic sculptures, it greets you with all the bright colours and vibrant culture you might expect from Latin America and Africa, whilst breaking down some interesting misconceptions.
7. British Museum
The hallowed halls of the British Museum house a myriad of valuable African treasures, from ancient weapons and rudimentary tools, to delicately woven textiles, ceramics and sculpture. Dating from the dawn of indigenous life on the continent up to contemporary culture, including displays exploring current subjects such as the devastating issue of HIV/AIDS.
For the summer, UK-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové has constructed two seven metre high Moko Jumbie sculptures, which totter around the Great Court on carnivalesque stilts. Guardians against evil forces, these figures are around all September and are perfect inspiration for the Notting Hill Carnival!
8. All of Us Have A Sense of Rhythm, David Roberts Art Foundation, 5th June - 1st August
All Of Us Have A Sense Of Rhythm is guest curated by French-Cameroon Christine Eyene and delves into the nature of African rhythms, illustrating how this diverse musical genre has been integrated into artistic practices from the 20th century to today.
9. Dineo Seshee Bopape, Hayward Gallery, 26th August - 27th September
As part of the Southbank Centre's Africa Utopia festival, you'll find the first UK solo show from rising African contemporary art star Dineo Seshee Bopape at the Hayward. And it's also the final bow before this spectacular gallery on the riverfront closes for renovations. Kaleidoscopic videos and bric-a-brac installations make this exhibition worth popping into.
African Food in London
Let your mouth water at Berber and Q's North African cuisine
10. African Gallery Kitchen
A hub of hearty West African fare, this dainty street food café is as charming as they come . The proprietor bases his mouthwatering creations on the recipes of his grandma and the quality of the food, generous portions and very reasonable prices combined will almost certainly make your meal here the first of many.
A bustling little tapas bar in the heart of Exmouth Market, Morito is constantly bursting at the seams with enamoured regulars and enthusiastic newbies. Although this does of course mean your chances of getting a table straight away are pretty slim, it is certainly well worth the wait. The highest quality ingredients used in exotic but never frilly flavour combinations, and all at very affordable prices, this is both a tasty and charming African dining experience.
This family-run establishment serves authentic and delicious Eritrean cuisine in a setting that easily does justice to its African origins. Brothers Ben and Daniel painstakingly recreate their mother's recipes for lentil and okra stews, delectable grilled lamb, and various other hearty and heavenly dishes. Surrounding by little Eritrean cultural touches, including original art and artefacts, the restaurant's rich background wonderfully complements its food, and will guarantee a great overall culinary experience.
13. Berber & Q
Haggerston's recently opened African grill house comes from a pair of Ottolenghi graduates with a zest for exploration. Berber & Q channels global influences to turn out Middle Eastern and North African cuisine by focusing on the grilling and marinading techniques of the 'mangal', the traditional social barbeques of Turkey and Persia.
14. Ibeyi, Koko - 3rd November
Ibeyi are twin sisters Naomi (lead vocals, piano) and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz (vocals, cajón, Batåa drum), daughters of legendary Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Miguel. Here they combine traditional West African Yoruba music and James Blake-inspired electronic crooning. Raised in Cuba but resident in Paris, catch their unique, West African inspired sounds for one night in Camden.
African Fashion and Shopping
Africa Fashion Week is held throughout London
15. Africa Fashion Week, London, 7th & 8th August
As Europe's largest catwalk event featuring African and African-inspired design, Africa Fashion Week London spotlight's the industry's established and up-and-coming designers. Our highlights from Africa Fashion week include designer M&C, emerging African brand creating daring patterns and elegant silhouettes as well as dramatic shapes from Kilumba.
16. Tribal Gathering London
For expertly curated and high calibre African art, Tribal Gathering in Notting Hill is the definitive London resource. Specialists in African tribal art and adornment, the gallery has been bringing a discerning dealer's eye to this artistic niche for fifteen years now, featuring everything from wooden sculptures and furniture, to Tanzanian bark cloth and intricate African pots.