AFROfest Taiwan 2024

I am a 外國人Wàiguó rén, I have lived in Taipei for over 4 years. I am starting to feel like I know a little bit of Taiwan and my city, Taipei. In the hidden corners, I can find music that I like and events that energise me. It is hard at first though. How do I find out what is going on? How do I connect with open, like-minded people? These are all questions that I asked myself for a long time. Did you know that there are a series of events in Taiwan that celebrate black culture? I found this out when I attended AFROfest TW in 2023. There is a large African community in Taiwan, as well as Caribbean, African-American and a multitude of other cultures. AFROfest TW was electric, the music, the food, the energy and most of all the community spirit has stayed with me since. AFROfest 2024 is around the corner, and I spoke to Boney Kross and Toi Windham to find out more.

Boney Kross – organiser AFROfest TW 2024

Boney Kross is a Ugandan expat, fiercely proud of his home country, he arrived in Taiwan over 7 years ago. Now working as a teacher and a musician, he is keen to share African music and culture throughout Taiwan. If any of you know Boney (many people do!), you will know how hard he works to connect the African diaspora in Taiwan. Growing up in a musical family, he has a passion for sharing, everyone is welcome at his events and if you have seen him on stage in one of his many bands you will know he can get any crowd to dance and move to the rhythms of Africa.
Meeting Boney, it is clear that community is at the heart of what he does. He tells me that Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa, with a wealth of natural resources, the fruit basket of the African continent. Similar to Taiwan, it is known for its national parks, wildlife and local agriculture. Akin to Taiwan are its friendly people. Whatever you have, however little, you share.

Toi Windham – organiser AFROfest TW 2024

Toi Windham arrived in Taiwan in 2016 to continue her Chinese Language studies after spending 6 years living and studying in China. Once Toi had completed her studies, she realised she was not ready to leave and has worked in several creative industries teaching, acting, writing, coaching and in marketing roles. She met her husband in Taiwan she is thoroughly settled and runs her own business here 啼聲有限公司 (Tisheng LLC) Elevate LLC.

The aim of Elevate LLC is to embolden and empower. As an African American, Toi aims to increase the awareness of black culture and its people in Taiwan. When you meet Toi you can’t help but feel uplifted by her warm smile and creative energy. It is her ability to connect with others that sets Elevate apart from other event organisations. Toi brings this energy into all the events that she creates and there are many. The celebration of black culture is at the heart of what she does and Boney and Toi working together create a powerful team.

Having both lived in Taiwan for many years, Toi and Boney understand the Taiwan landscape. Everything they do focuses on reaching the most people possible, to get the word out and encourage genuine cultural exchange through music, dance, art, spoken word and workshops.

AFROfest TW 2024

Date: Saturday 25th May 2024 14:00 – 21:00 Venue: Maji Square: MAJI MAJI 集食行樂 – The Big Top (Yuanshan MRT) Tickets Available: AFROfest TW 2024
AFROfest TW 2024

AFROfest TW is a celebration of Africa Day. 

Africa Day was founded in 1963. It marks the foundation of the African Union (AU). The day celebrates African unity, and all the wonderful cultures that the continent is home to. It’s a day to reflect on the progress Africa has made and this energy can be seen at AFROfest TW. It aims to share the rich and diverse expressions of African and Black Culture through the arts in an inclusive, vibrant and positive community festival environment. The event includes creative workshops, exciting performances, live music and DJ’s, all ages can share a full day of fun.

Boney tells me that through AFROfest TW he wants to break some of the stereotypes that people in Taiwan have of Africans and black people in general, it’s an opportunity to change the narrative in Taiwan and promote cohesion. Boney and Toi both tell me that they have experienced racist microaggressions, whether through staring, hair touching or by the barriers put up by some schools in recruiting black people as teachers. Conversely, they have both also experienced a huge amount of openness and support in Taiwan and strive to continue to invite this openness into their events.

AFROfest TW 2024 will take place in MAJI Square in the big top white tent. There will be food vendors selling African and Caribbean delicacies, vendors selling African art, products and clothing along with a packed line-up of entertainment with live bands, DJ’s and art. In 2023, AFROfest TW was supported by the The Embassy of The Kingdom of Eswatini, being the last African nation to offer diplomatic ties to Taiwan. AFROfest TW are looking for sponsors, volunteers, vendors and acts to support them for 2024. Sign up here.

Other festivals and events to look out for: Community Convos: Regular events focused on discussing challenging subjects in a safe space SaffaFest: A festival of South Africa Culture Juneteenth: Celebration of the abolition of slavery in the US MAMA Africa Heritage Festival: Celebration of African & Caribbean culture TheFirmEvnts: Regular music inspired events featuring AFRObeat, SOCA, Hip Hop and more

Gemma Green is a Taipei resident since January 2020. Gemma has a background in UK NGO management and community work, which has allowed her to use her time volunteering for a number of projects in Taiwan.

Keen to learn more about Taiwanese society and its people she is passionate about writing, photography and the stories that are within us all.

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