In Detroit and London: More African Villages in the Zoo
There's been much discussion about the African Village in the Augsburg Zoo that took place last weekend. At the same time, the Detroit Zoo has arranged an African American Festival: "It will feature storyteller Ivory D. Williams, arts and crafts, authentic style food, hip-hop lessons, dance groups and an African American Community Resource area." They plan even more festivals like the Middle Eastern Festival, Caribbean Festival and the Native American Festival. No Bavarian or European festival, though. >> read the press release
The African Village in the Augsburg zoo wasn't actually a village. Visitors and journalists told about the usual stands with rings, arts and food that one finds on every festival. As Zeyneb Kaengo, 39, an African who was cooking at an African food stand, told the press: "I do not understand why people are protesting. Maybe they thought we were going to be put in cages, but that's not true," she said.
Nevertheless, the question remains "why Europe is suddenly obsessed with this exotic fascination for Africa, which only the zoo can provide" as the Guardian (Nigeria) asks in an interesting article. They write about forthcoming "African nights" in the London Zoo.
On the zoo's homepage we read:
"In addition to the unique opportunity to experience the animals settling in for the evening, visitors will be able to soak up the African culture with themed animal shows, live African performances, licensed bars and African food on offer throughout the evening. For the children there will be the opportunity to learn how to make Maasai masks, listen to traditional African stories and have their faces painted like tribal warriors!"