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African festival to fill Surrey Civic Plaza with music, dance and food on Labour Day weekend

Tickets are required for Sept. 4, but the first two festival days are free
Fally Ipupa, a performer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will bring his band to Surrey for the AHFOMAD festival (African Heritage Festival of Music and Dance) on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 4. (Photo:

Surrey Civic Plaza will move to the music and dance of African nations on Labour Day weekend.

Sept. 2-4 are the dates for this year’s AHFOMAD, or African Heritage Festival of Music and Dance.

Thousand of people are expected to attend the event, which is free on the first two days but requires tickets for events on Sunday, Sept. 4.

“We will be featuring amazing and innovative festival programming of some of the best new, emerging and established African, Caribbean and Canadian Black artists ever,” Ezeadi Patrick Onukwulu, the festival’s artistic director, told the Now-Leader.

“We are converting the already beautiful Surrey Civic Plaza into a unique and African-influenced, classy festival venue design — a welcoming space for our audience, sponsors and participants to enjoy three days of music, arts, food, fashion, people and connections from our perspective.”

The festival headliner is Fally Ipupa, a performer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and band, to hit the stage on Day 3 starting at 7 p.m.


The Day 1 schedule involves a pop-up market and drum workshop on the evening of Friday, Sept. 2, followed by live music and DJs on the following Saturday and Sunday. More details are posted on

A number of artisans and vendors will set up for the weekend, including Sickle Cell Apparel, an enterprise created by a daughter and mother team who have been affected by the sickle cell anemia, “to raise funds for it and keep themselves busy while the daughter continues her journey with the affliction,” Onukwulu noted. “Fifty per cent of their profits go to Sickle Cell research.”

Food vendors will include A Taste of Rwanda, Van Suya (cuisine from Nigeria) and Safari Kabumbe (Congo).

“Our hope for this year is that the Black peoples of the Lower Mainland and their allies, friends and associates will come out in numbers to experience what we have to share with all and be a part of our establishing a new benchmark for a Black Peoples, professional music and arts festival in (B.C.) and Canada,” Onukwulu added.

The AHFOMAD festival is now in its seventh year at Surrey Civic Plaza, located at 13450 104 Ave., outside city hall.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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