African Heritage On Tour





African Life Magazine, London, 
March 95


Kenya’s world famous African Heritage is about to begin an extensive and ambitious tour of Germany and Austria.  Some 28 musicians, models, dancers, acrobats, hairdressers and craftspeople will be flown to Europe by the German airline, Lufthansa, this spring. The African Heritage Festival, which is touring Europe for the first time since its remarkably successful visit 10 years ago will hold shows at various cities throughout the two countries. 

In each city where African Heritage performs, there will be food festivals sponsored by the Hotel Inter-Continental and Forum Hotels and a Gala Benefit Night to be opened by the local mayors and Kenya’s Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Victor Ogutu-Obare.  The shows are being supported by the Kenya Tourist Office and the Kenya Embassy in Bonn.

The organizers hope that one of the more beneficial fallouts of the tour will be the opportunity to offset some of the very negative publicity about Africa that is currently the vogue in Europe.

The African Heritage troupe will showcase the creative side not only of Kenya but the entire continent of Africa. The idea is not only to attract tourist to countries like Kenya, but to portray Africa as a dynamic force in the world of art, music, dance and other creative endeavors.

Among the great cultural heritages of Africa are it sculpture and textiles.  Both are highlighted in the festival.  The Festival opens with a “Textile Tour Africa”, with segments featuring the splendid hand-woven and hand-printed textiles from various African countries and authentic African costumes.

Apart from colourful displays of African costumes and fashions, African Heritage’s troupe of talented dancers are certain to add vigour to the entertainment extravaganza.

Also on offer will be a wide range of mouth-watering delicacies from various culinary areas of Africa.  Among the highlights will be the famous Seychelloise fish soup and the full range of delicious Swahili cooking, including fish, chicken and chickpeas cooked in creamy coconut sauces.  Grilled and barbecued meats will include eland, ostrich and zebra in addition to the usual beef, lamb and chicken.

During each show, there will be an exhibition of Kenyan crafts and African Heritage jewellery.  Designers for this jewellery have based their work firmly on African traditions and use an astonishing array of local material to produce startling shapes and forms. It is no secret that African Heritage fashion and jewellery has inspired many of the leading fashion and jewellery designers of Europe and America.

The last time African Heritage went o Europe, 10 years ago, a review which appeared in a Brussels newspaper had this to say about the show:

“It was a long time ago that something of this kind and quality was offered to us.  The dullness of the usual “exotic” fashion shows we have been offered has made us accustomed to regarding them in a high and mighty way, at the very most, as emanations from an outmoded folklore.  Let us salute this young team of Kenyan creators as maters...”

Times have certainly changed since then. Today African Heritage is regarded as in the van guard of the world fashion movement with designers from all over the globe borrowing freely from its concepts.

It was also through African Heritage and the work of photographers like Peter Beard that African models like Imam, Khadija and Fayel became queens of the fashion catwalks of Europe and paved the way for other black beauties, like Naomi Campbell, to reign, supreme in the world of fashion.


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