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Panorama of African cultures at Al Janoub Stadium opening

  • 20 May 2019
  • Author: QT01
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Panorama of African cultures at Al Janoub Stadium opening
Catherine W Gichuki
Doha
It was a potpourri of cultures on display on the sidelines of the magnificent opening ceremony of the Al Janoub Stadium (formerly known as Al Wakrah Stadium), one of the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums, and the venue of the 47th Amir Cup final between Qatar giants Al Sadd and Al Duhail, last Thursday. A number of African cultural groups joined other communities in roaming performances at the Fan Zone in different parts of the stadium showcasing the best of their cultures through performances including dancing, singing and drumming besides other displays. The spectators coming to the stadium were welcomed with dazzling beats and rhythms.
The African communities that performed on the day included South Africans, Ugandans, Kenyans and Ghanaians, among others. They felt privileged to be given a platform to take part in the historic event. The performances were organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
Patrick Dilley, a South African who heads the ‘Drumming in Qata’r group comprising Africans from different nationalities, told Qatar Tribune that he was so delighted to get a chance to perform on the occasion. 
He thanked the Supreme Committee and the South African embassy for giving the group an opportunity to perform at the stadium.
His team of performers included Kenyans, Ugandans, Ghanaians and South Africans. “Our team not only consists of South Africans but other nationalities as well. We feel it’s a good way to represent Africa as whole. We want to showcase the diversity in African cultures.”
The group performed generic African songs from different African countries such as ‘Africa Ooh’, ‘Ole Ole Ole’. “It’s a mixture of everything. We also created our own song titled, ‘Everybody Clap Your Hands’. We created that song in South Africa.”
Dilley, whose group in South Africa participated in the FIFA World Cup in 2010, in South Africa, said he was trying to adopt what they did when South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010 and bring it to Qatar. “We’re trying to do the same things. We’re not doing the big stage like ‘Waka Waka’; instead we are doing the basics of drumming showing the African spirit and energy.”
The group performs together regularly and that’s why he said they were able to deliver a well coordinated performance. “We’re always prepared. We all know the songs. We do the drumming circles twice a month.”
Talking about the Al Janoub Stadium, Dilley said, “It’s just amazing and beautiful. I toured the stadium and it’s superb compared to stadiums in Cape Town in South Africa.”
The Ugandan community was not to be left behind. They presented a number of performances unfolding a glimpse of the rich Ugandan culture. 
Benson Akampumuza, leader of the Ugandan performers, said, “Since they are roaming shows, we’re playing different multicultural songs.”
Akampumuza said he felt honoured on his group being given an opportunity to perform on the sidelines of the 47th Amir Cup final as well as at the opening ceremony of the Al Janoub Stadium. “We’re happy to perform at the stadium that will host matches up to quarter finals during the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It’s a really big achievement not only for us but also for Africans.”
He added that through their performances, many people got to know more about Ugandans and the country. The group showcased their local drums, attires, dances, T-shirts, etc.
Akampumuza said this was not the first time they had participated in such an event. “We have practices almost every week. We’re looking at the bigger picture and that is the World Cup in 2022.”
He said the facility here is one of a kind and was really happy to perform here. “I really respect the architect who designed this stadium.
The popular Kenyan group, the Green Maasai Troupe, performed a number of African songs and dance while showcasing their unique African costumes. 
Anthony Kamau from the Green Maasai Troupe said, “It was an honour to there. It was such a breath-taking moment being able to participate in our own way. We were so excited.”
He said he was so grateful to the Supreme Committee for giving them such an opportunity. 
Some of the songs they sang included, ‘Ngoro Yakwa Nirakena’ (My heart is full of joy). “Our hearts are full of joy. We’ll always cherish having performed in one of the stadiums that will host the FIFA World Cup.”
Kamau said they have performed at various events which acted like a training ground for last Thursday’s event.
The performers’ face painting which depicted the Kenyan tradition was done up by Patrick, while and Douglas has been dressing the group.
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