A hugely popular African cultural festival, co-founded and developed by a senior Slater and Gordon lawyer, will this weekend be in contention for a coveted Melbourne Award.
Senior Public Liability Lawyer Ike Nwokolo has spent the past four years helping build the African Music and Cultural Festival (AMFC) – which has now become the largest of its kind in Australia.
The event – known for its food and diverse range of musical and dance performances – is one of three finalists in the Melbourne Awards’ Contribution to Multiculturalism by Community Organisation category, which will be announced this Saturday 18 November.
Mr Nwokolo, whose father was born in Nigeria, said the nomination highlighted the importance of the festival to Melbourne, with more than 40,000 people expected to attend the festival at Federation Square for this year’s celebration.
This year’s event, which will take place between 11am and 10pm on Saturday 9 December at Federation Square, will include acts from more than 35 African nations.
Mr Nwokolo said the event played an important role on a social and cultural level, in providing an opportunity for the close to 400,000 African-born Australians to connect with the wider community.
“This nomination highlights how truly multicultural Melbourne and Victoria have become and reallyshows how much the festival has impacted the community,” Mr Nwokolo said.
“As the influx of new migrants into Australia and Victoria increases it is crucial that we maintain a cohesive, inclusive and harmonious society.
“This is why we have festivals such as this and other community festivals.”
Mr Nwokolo said it was important to promote cross-cultural awareness, highlighting the beauty and proud history that African-Australian communities have to offer.
“The festival shares the richness of African culture with the wider Australian community and providesan opportunity for the wider Australian community to learn and experience African culture first hand,” Mr Nwokolo said.
“The AMFC invites all Victorians to learn more about the many and varied traditions, cultures and languages as well as the diverse group of people who make up our state's African Australian community.”
Slater and Gordon has sponsored the event since its inception in 2014.