Singers and dancers took to the stage in Northampton’s Market Square today as part of a multicultural festival aiming to recognise and promote the diversity of Northampton’s community.
Members of the Zimwomen Association and students at the University of Northampton came together to produce the whole-day festival which saw cooks and artists from all over the world share a taste of their own culture swith the town.
As well as ongoing free performances on the sqaure’s stage, stalls included African jewellery and fabrics, Canadian crafts, Indian cuisine and a stall set up by members of the University’s Chinese Society, offering to translate people’s names into Chinese characters on special gift cards.
It was the third annual festival held by the women’s community group, Zimwomen Association, and was organised by events management undergraduates from the University as part of their final course project.
Student and Zimwomen member, Ruvimbo Mauhunduke, aged 25, said: “Now that the weather has improved we are optimistic for a big turnout.
“Like with any event, it has been stressful to plan and we’ve put in a lot of long hours and lost quite a bit of sleep.
“But on the day you just have to relax and enjoy it, even though a few things will always go wrong.
“All five students in the organising group are from different backgrounds so we have enjoyed promoting a multicultural event.”
Zimwomen Associatin founder, Rutendo Nyatsine, a 45-year old care support worker, said: “Every year we try to make the festival bigger and better and the student volunteers are so helpful and make everything much easier.
“Our passion is the empowerment of young people and women and breaking down the barriers between groups.
“With the festival we want to showcase the talents that people, mainly women, keep to themselves at home and give them the confidence to share it and be recognised for it.
“We hold lots of other events in the year to achieve this and we also offer various stypes of family support.
“We promote this by going and visiting where the people are, to churches and young people’s organisations.”
Run in association with the Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs (NAYC), the students and Zimwomen are also holding a multicultural evening show tonight at the Deco theatre in Northampton, with performances including Irish dancers, African drummers and a Somali fashion show.
Northampton mayor, Les Marriott, will also be giving a speech during the show as proceeds will be going to his charity, the Caring and Sharing Trust.