Rolling Out

Bantu Fest celebrates African culture in Chicago

Photo Credit: Eddy "Precise" Lamarre
Photo Credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre

The great thing about living in Chicago during the summer is that you will never be at a loss for something to do. The city is rich culturally and as you travel the city the sense of diversity is defined. Bantu Fest represents the best at showcasing the cultural depth of the city. Bantu Fest is one of the biggest cultural exchanges in the Midwest.

The festival is a celebration of the African diaspora. Haitians, Jamaicans, Cameroonians, Americans, Belizians and much more come together for the purpose of celebration and commerce. You can buy a dashiki from West Africa and a South African meal within a few steps. Music from all over the world filled the parking lot of the Kleo Center as festival goers danced and made purchases. At its core this festival is about diversity and unity. It’s also a safe space for the children of the community to gather and have fun in peace.

The weather managed to cooperate into the evening when rain decided to cool off the muggy summer night.

We spoke with Silvain Songo, one of the founders of Bantu Fest, and we asked why it was important and what he loves about it. He said, “Bantu Fest means The People`s Fest. Bantu Fest brings together people from over 10 different countries in Africa, the Caribbean and America. The Bantu Fest is designed to promote love, peace, unity and diversity among nations. What I love about it is the taste of food from different countries. This year, we had food from South Africa, Cameroon, Jamaica, Mexico, and vegetarian dishes from the United States. The vendors were all from all over the world. This year was even more special because we were honored by the presence of the Consul General of South Africa, and the Honorary Consul of The Comoros.”

Take a look at a few pics below.

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