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FAMU to host annual Harambee Festival

By Constance Smith | Staff Writer
On February 6, 2018

Thousands of people attended last year's Harambee Festival 
Photo credit: Adam V. Taylor 


Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the city of Tallahassee will collaborate during Black History Month to host the annual Harambee Festival, a community-wide cultural celebration, at Cascades Park.  

Harambee which means “let’s pull together,” is a representation of how the Tallahassee community will celebrate the history of African-Americans and educate others on the roots of African culture.

Charlene Balewa, the organizer of the Harambee Festival, explained why she enjoys this event every year.

“It gives the community a chance to experience and celebrate African culture. We get a chance to showcase the great struggle that African-Americans grew from,” Balewa said.

The Harambee Festival features many musical performances, spoken word, dance pieces, workshops, and more all in the backyard of FAMU. According to Balewa, “it gives us an opportunity to show off the talent that’s in our schools and colleges.”

Michele Beverly is a student affairs associate at FAMU, who said the festival is informative and something she enjoys taking her daughters to.

“I enjoyed taking my daughters out to the Harambee Festival,” Beverly said. “[Harambee] is very informative – something I would take my kids back too.”

The Tallahassee community gathered around the Cascade Park stage
Photo credit: Adam V. Taylor 

Along with the special performances, many vendors sell a variety of specialty items. You’ll be able to find eclectic fashions, artwork, jewelry, body products, food and other types of cultural goods.

For over the past few years Freddie Owens has been participating in the Harambee Festival. He sells African art, masks, fashion and jewelry.

“The Harambee Festival brings together a lot of people. It’s an opportunity to teach others because a lot of people don’t know anything about African art,” Owens said.

The Harambee Festival was revived two years ago when Balewa wanted a way to show off and celebrate African culture in a different way. She realized the Harambee Festival had already been established by professors at FAMU years before and wanted to bring it back.

“I wanted to do something positive, to see the entire community engaged and enjoying the festival together is a great feeling,” Balewa said.

This year’s Harambee Festival has so much in store, the celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Cascades Park. The Harambee Festival is a free event that is open to the public.


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