PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Dozens of people came out Saturday for the Second Annual African Heritage Festival at Walker Mill Regional Park in Capitol Heights.
As of last year, Executive Angela Alsobrooks declared the month of September African Heritage Month, recognizing the thriving African community in Prince George’s County.
At its heart, the festival is about unity and giving people an opportunity to learn about African culture.
“As a community, as a people, we can come together. So, we’ll put aside our different religious backgrounds, political orientations to come under one umbrella as brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters to have fun,” said Manfred Tambe with the Nigerian Soccer League. “We can have a common goal as one people, [without any] divisiveness of my tribe, my culture, my religion, so we can all be one people and united we can pretty much conquer any obstacle.”
Dr. Sylvia Dasi, African Diaspora Liason, Prince George’s County, explained, “We want to build a community where we express love,” adding that the festival is a celebration of diversity.
Besides featuring food and music, the event festival included soccer games in which several African countries played against each other.
Tambe said it was a nod to the World Cup, which takes place in Qatar this year.
“There’s a lot of back and forth as far as my country is better your country, my country stronger your country. So since we cannot individually play in Qatar, this is our opportunity to go up against each other and show them that oh my country is better than yours,” said Tambe.
For Eze Okwodu, an event sponsor and native African who lives in Prince George’s County, the festival brought a feeling of home.
“I don’t get to go back as much as I should. My children don’t get to go back as much as they should. So what they can’t get by going back, they can get by coming here and meeting other Africans like Cameroonians, Togolese, and just Africans, in general,” said Okwodu.
The African Heritage Festival was scheduled to continue Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a championship soccer match and final celebration taking place.