FAMU Presents Annual Harambee Festival
By Stephanie K. Jenkins
In honor of Black History Month, Florida A&M University (FAMU) will be hosting its fourth annual Harambee Festival as a community-wide celebration highlighting cultural pride. The festival, in partnership with the City of Tallahassee, takes place on Saturday, February 23, at Cascades Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a free event and is open to the public.
Harambee, which means “let’s pull together” in Swahili, is a representation of the Tallahassee community’s efforts to educate others on the roots of African culture and recognize the achievements and contributions of African Americans.
The Harambee Festival features various musical performances, cultural arts, spoken word, poetry, dance pieces, eclectic jewelry, international food, workshops, vendors and much more.
Charlene Balewa works with FAMU’s Office of Communications to organize the FAMU Harambee Festival and explained why she enjoys educating people in the community about the rich legacy of African culture.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to share our rich heritage of the African diaspora with the Tallahassee community and surrounding counties. The Harambee Festival inspires, educates and empowers others to learn from their past and to rise higher as a collective for a brighter future for all,” said Balewa.
Balewa is looking forward to a great turnout this year along with the lineup of special guests and performances.
“We will showcase the Sankofa Concert, which features the KOFI Kazza African Drum and Dance Ensemble as well as Kitty Oliver, Ph.D., an historian and orator, who speaks about race and class in the United States,” said Balewa. “We are also delighted to have poet, singer, and activist Sunni Patterson.”
Janelle Edwards, a jewelry designer, participates in the Harambee Festival every year and enjoys the vibe and support from the community.
“I enjoy the general energy out there. People really come out to support and encourage one another. It’s the one festival that just feels super positive, like a family reunion,” said Edwards.
Tallahassee resident Kokahyi Sa-Ra believes the festival is a great representation of African culture.
“Last year after the “Black Panther” movie, Harambee was outstanding. We were Wakanda last year; so, I’m hoping to see that same cultural expression and appreciation this year,” Sa-Ra said.