Yep, Africa Utopia is back, returning for a seventh year in a new collaboration with Indaba X. Get yourself down to Southbank Centre for a weekend of performance, talks and thought-provoking events which explore how Africa and its diaspora shape the way we think about art, culture, gender, race, sexuality, fashion, activism and society.
Joining us to celebrate the culture of the second largest continent are a host of familiar names including Akala, Ozwald Boateng, Femi Kuti, Denise Lewis, Nathalie Emmanuel, Bethann Hardison, Noel Clarke, Chineke! Orchestra and many more. And, here are just a few of the festival highlights to look out for.
Friday 13 Sep | 7pm | Royal Festival Hall
Be immersed in the energy of Nigeria’s boastiest venue as Femi Kuti’s New Africa Shine relocates to Royal Festival Hall. Expect an atmospheric, energetic night that’s part musical performance, part spiritual experience featuring Akala, Talib Kweli and the man himself, Femi Kuti.
Friday 13 Sep | 7.30pm | Queen Elizabeth Hall
Author of The Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos, Chibundu Onuzo returns to Southbank Centre her autobiographical show featuring narrative, music, song and dance. Featuring a live band, choir, and a healthy dose of West African rhythm, 1991 takes us on a journey from Lagos to London, spanning two military dictatorships, one internet revolution, two boarding schools and five grandmothers.
Friday 13 Sep | 10pm | Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer
On Friday night, join us ‘til late for a special Africa Utopia edition of our club night. Behind the decks you’ll find Jay Mitta; core producer from Dar Es Salaam's Sisso Studios and innovator of the Singeli genre. Joining Mitta are experimental club producer ZULI from Cairo, Swiss-Congolese creator Bonaventure and Hyperdub producer Okzharp from South Africa.
Saturday 14 Sep | 1pm | Purcell Room
In a special panel talk chaired by gold medal winning Olympian and former Sports Personality of the Year, Denise Lewis, we explore the complexities, possibilities and personal cost of protest in sport. Joining Lewis for the discussion – framed by NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the US national anthem – are two-time Super Bowl champion turned BBC pundit, Osi Umenyiora, and former French international footballer, Louis Saha.
Sat 14 Sep | 2.45pm | Queen Elizabeth Hall
What is the importance of preserving cultural history? How is what was taken during slavery and empire retraced? Do our memories of the past affect our collective consciousness? These questions and more are addressed by a special panel featuring Akala, Angelina Osbourne, David Killingray and Professor Abosede George, and chaired by Ed Emeka Keazor.
Sat 14 Sep 2019 | 7pm | Royal Festival Hall
On Saturday evening join us to experience the enduring power of literary correspondence. Inspired by Shaun Usher’s international best-selling Letters of Note series and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter great performers read remarkable letters from down the centuries and around the world.
These are just a handful of events taking place at Africa Utopia, which features talks, debates, performance, fashion, film, workshops and much more across the weekend. Why not take a look at what else is taking place at Southbank Centre as part of the festival, including a number of free events.