African Activities CIC why?
African Activities CIC bring African Arts workshops into schools with the aim of leaving children and students with a deeper, richer and more truthful view of Africa than they began with.
Why do we do what we do?
African Activities was founded back in 2007 and our aims have always been simple.
Moving to the UK in 2000 Kwame was confused to see a disconnect between the Africa he knew and the one represented here. Paired down until it became a caricature of itself, unrecognisable from the original.
At the same time Kwame came into contact with systemic racism for the first time. From the Visa officer at the consulate who asked if he lived in a mud hut to the job interview where he was told “we don’t employ people with that hair here”. Worse he had become a figure of fear overnight, in full underground uniform people would still clutch their bags closer as he passed.
As a non profit community interest company we are passionately committed to the survival and development of African Arts and to the development of a counter narrative on Africa to bring complexity and nuance to an over simplified caricature.
We believe strongly in delivering authentic, extraordinary and engaging experiences. All of our practitioners are from the cultures that they teach, able to offer a deeper and richer understanding and a more vibrant experience. Our team delivers workshops in West African drumming, West African Dance, Storytelling, Kora, Mbira, Ghanaian Art, West African Textiles, recycling, Capoira and more. We work with all ages from the Nursery to University and at all levels from Foundation to Degree.
African Activities CIC has been featured on CBeebies and the BBC and all of our practitioners are experienced workshop facilitators and professional artists. Our musicians perform across the world at events including Womad, Glastonbury Festival, Chelsea Festival, Disneyland Paris, Natural History Museum and on the BBC Headroom Project. Collaborating with artists such as Ray Charles, Salif Keita, Ismael Lo and Baaba Maal. Our dancers are professionals who have worked for companies including Ballet Nimba and Ballet Nafaya. Many have won awards including best actor/dancer in the Festival d’Alliances. Our visual artists regularly exhibit and have works in public and private collections around the globe.
Our office staff are also highly skilled and all have a background in either education, events management or the African arts. A unique combination ensuring we are able to provide you with the support you need to get the most from your booking.
To provide African Arts education to schools to enrich and extend the National Curriculum with rich, stimulating, exciting activities that encourage a global perspective.
We offer high quality workshops by experienced practitioners and teachers. Workshops can be tailor made according to the specific needs of a group.
In our workshops, the pupils are actively involved, take a full part in the creative process and experience a sense of pride and achievement. They are encouraged to aim for a high level of skill and to express their ideas and performance with others.
- Provide students with practical-based knowledge that may be applied to other subject areas
- Fulfil specific National Curriculum learning outcomes
- Offer workshops that are 100% participatory
- Develop performance skills
- Develop personal and social skills such as teamwork, communication, commitment, responsibility and confidence
- Encourage students to take a risk within a secure environment
- Encourage students to reflect upon their work to improve their own standard
- Bridge cultural gaps by fostering knowledge and understanding through exposure to and participation in music from different countries
Possibly the most rewarding aspect of this work comes when I (and the other practitioners) return home – I play video to the children of the same age in Buipe (my home town) of children in England learning about their culture. It always causes much excitement, but more than that I’m hoping it might be the start of a real shift for these children to see their culture as something of value. Sadly our position at the bottom of the pile is not something that is lost on the average rural African child. Over the years of travel and work I’ve come to see this lack of confidence, pride and self belief as a key part of our future problems. In the same way as our poverty of circumstance but not aspiration can be the answer. Even more devastatingly it is often the ‘white gaze’ that is more likely to cause the shift.
I’m really interested in running an African Arts camp to cater for students from the UK, US and Ghana over the summer – an attempt to decolonize travel in general but especially the volunteerism sector. But I can also see it is a total minefield – a trap in which I may also fall as my own journey has taken me far from the average child in Buipe, even though when I started that is exactly where I was.
The king identifies rural to urban migration as a major threat and it leaves many at great risk. The main driver young people cite for leaving is boredom and lack of opportunity and I hope the camp may fight that. Having worked on a number of camps and exchange programmes whilst in Ghana I am aware what impressed volunteers is what they learned, on leaving they were often under less illusion that they were ‘saving people’. I would like to put this learning at the centre, to take the lie out if you like. I am hoping that our work in schools over the years may also help us to prepare both sides before the trips occur. The truth is without education a short visit can often confirm more prejudices than it solves. We are hoping to encourage people to really challenge themselves to open their eyes.
We provide experiences that adapt to meet your students needs
All of our activities are fully accessible and adaptable equipment is available. We are more than happy to work to meet your learning objectives and have explored slavery, environmental injustice, religion and much more! We work with groups with a wide range of skills, gifts and abilities.
Nursey – Key Stage 3
Featured on CBeebies – We offer workshops for Nurseries, Infant schools, junior schools and of course primaries.
The full range of workshops designed to meet your learning objectives. More information…
GCSE – Key stage 3
We are are happy to design workshops to meet your learning objectives.
Popular options include arts weeks, celebrating success days, black history month, GCSE music, art, citizenship and humanities focused events.
Africa Day all schools
We can take over a year group or even a whole school for the day.
We will meet your learning objectives. A wide range of activities work well for MAD week, arts week, Rag week, diversity events and of course black history month.
We believe in the healing and the unifying power of the arts. Our workshops are accessible to all.
We enjoy working within a variety of secure units and professional care homes throughout the country.
African Activities works hard to redress an imbalance that we, as Africans, perceive in the west. We simply do not recognise the one dimensional view of the rich and diverse continent that we derive from!
At African Activities we are proud to be the leading supplier of African themed workshops across England. An African Activities workshop guarantees an authentic and quality experience from our exceptional artists. We are proud to work with international musicians who we believe are the best you will find outside Africa, our musicians work across every continent except Antarctica and the Arctic! Of course we are CRB checked and insured.
You can view our workshops on CBeebies and the BBC. We invite you to view our testimonials and see what those who work with us think of our outcomes!
Our workshops will bring African into your school, workplace, community group or festival and we feel we have a lot to offer!