Afrika Eye festival - the South West’s biggest celebration of African arts, film and culture – returns to Bristol from 4 to 12 November. The line-up takes in contributions from 16 countries, ranging from Algeria to Zimbabwe, a real A-Z of Africa’s creativity, vibrancy and stories. Here, festival publicist Pam Beddard suggests five festival highlights to look forward to this year.

Pantsula Popping dance workshop (4 November, Colston Hall foyer)

To start Afrika Eye week - Pantsula Popping maestro Professor Lephafa brings a unique style of dance to Bristol for the very first time. Pantsula is a high-energy dance form, best described as a marriage of traditional African steps with street styles including hip-hop/break dance/body popping – performed to catchy percussive loops, deep bass lines and upbeat vocals of ‘kwaito’ music. The expressive dance workshop, which emerged from the South African townships during the Apartheid era, will take place in Colston Hall foyer.

Pantsula popping dance workshop - Afrika eye festival highlights to look forward to in 2018

Image - Professor Lephafa

Centenary salutes to Nelson Mandela (4 November, Arnolfini)

To mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, there are two special events at Arnolfini. First, a Feast for Mandela (3.30pm start) will be a chance to reflect on Mandela’s life and achievements while enjoying authentic foods from across Africa, conversation, arts interventions and music. The feast is followed by a screening of Lee Hirsch’s award-winning 2003 documentary, Amandla! A revolution in four-part harmony (6.30pm start) - a stirring tribute to the role played by black freedom music in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, featuring archive material, a vibrant soundtrack and interviews with political leaders and iconic musicians.

Senegal through Spanish eyes (5-11 November, SPACE gallery, Old Market)

Showing for the first time in the South West, Mas Morena is an exhibition of photographs taken in Senegal by the highly-rated Spanish photographer and art historian, Javier Hirshfeld. The collection depicts everyday life and people on Senegal’s Gorée Island while calling on the style and compositions of one of the 20th century’s most notable Spanish painters, Julio Romero de Torres. The gallery is open from 10am to 8pm daily (from 1pm, Wednesday). It’s free admission, no need to book.

Mas Morena - Afrika eye festival highlights to look forward to in 2018

Image - Mas Morena

Setting sail for Africa (6-8 November, Bristol Ferry Boats)

Head to the Harbourside and step aboard a Bristol Ferry for an evening cruise and spoken word workshop with wordsmith Edson Burton and singer songwriter Priscilla Andersohn (6 November) or songs and stories from Sisanda Myataza (7 November). Or, in what’s believed to be a Bristol Ferry boat first (!), a floating film show of the multiple award-winning Vanishing Sail (8 November), a documentary about one of Grenada’s last traditional boat-builders.

Vanishing sails - Afrika eye festival highlights to look forward to in 2018

Image - Vanishing Sails

Afrika Eye’s Watershed takeover (9-11 November, Watershed)

On offer during Afrika Eye’s traditional weekend takeover of Watershed are screenings of feature films telling stories from Algeria, France, Kenya, Mozambique and West Africa, classic and new animations, important documentaries as well as director Q&As and debates. There will also be a performance by the four-piece musical powerhouse Onipa with their high energy, Afro-fusion grooves, plus free African arts and crafts activities for families.

Look out for a report from two young Bristol creatives on their recent two-week visit to Senegal’s capital Dakar (which, like Bristol, is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network) and the first reactions to Bristol from the two Senegalese guests Afrika Eye is hosting in exchange.

Our City your eyes - Afrika Eye Festival highlights to look forward to in 2018

Image - Our City Your Eyes

#AfrikaEye2018 | #ourcityyoureyes

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