This year, Kalonji and I had a chance to participate in some of the activities for Panafest Nashville. The Nashville version is based on the one held every two years in Ghana and aims to bring together all African cultures for a weekend of cultural festivities. This year, the guest speaker was Nelson Mandela’s eldest granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela.
We all had a chance to meet Ms. Mandela last weekend on her arrival to the states. Africa Legacies Foundation held a reception for her at the Africa House and we enjoyed having the opportunity to hear Ms. Mandela speak about her father, Thimbekele Mandela, and her grandfather Nelson.
Then, last night, we attended the Panafest Gala Dinner and had a great time! The Gala was held at the Global Event Center in what used to be Hickory Hollow Mall. Ms. Mandela was also present, spoke some about her family and the work she was doing – including the fact that she planned to establish a Tennessee office of her foundation – that’s great news to hear. During the evening we were treated to dance performances, a fashion show, and great food and music. We even ran into a family friend while there. For more, the Tennessean has a nice article with information about her visit here in town.
My pictures didn’t turn out the best, but I did capture a few.
I also very much enjoyed the music. It was awesome! I was trying to use Shazaam to identify the music, but the app didn’t do that great of a job unfortunately. But, I did capture a few tracks, so I’ll start with those and see what else comes up.
Thursday night I had an opportunity to go on the General Jackson Showboat. I’ve only been one other time in all my time here in Nashville and Thursday night was fun. The evening cruise show was called “The Heart of Tennessee: A Musical Journey.” The performers covered a range of music – from bluegrass, soul, country of course, and some gospel. I do have a favorite singer though – that would be Soren Wohlers by a longshot. 🙂
Friday night, Kalonji held an event on behalf of one of the courses he is teaching. The course is called The Great Debate and students have to hold a public forum debate as part of their grade. The debate was held at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church. This year, Kalonji chose as debate topics W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington. Team Booker T. won the debate but both teams did a great job! Kaleya’s and her classmates even had a role – reciting the poem “Booker T. & W.E.B.” by Dudley Randall. Many thanks to everyone that came out to support the students.
Saturday we stopped by a fish fry Kaleya’s school was having. as a fundraiser. The food was good!
And Sunday, Kaleya and Q flew kites. The wind was perfect for it!
Yesterday, Kalonji and I traveled to Chattanooga to say goodbye to a family friend. We attended funeral services for our friend, Gerald Taylor, Jr. Gerald and Kalonji used to work together for the Room In the Inn program here in Nashville.
Gerald was incredibly kind and polite, always a pleasure to be around, funny and overall an extremely nice guy. He will very much be missed by his family, his friends, and all who knew him.