Elephant Park to host Afro Jam
Elephant Park will provide the backdrop for an afternoon of African drumming, Caribbean food and breathtaking acrobatics when the vibrant Afro Jam takes place this September. Brought to the park by local company Uncle-Aug, we speak to director Augustine Nyemah about the Elephant & Castle-based organisation and his hopes for the event
What is the aim of Uncle-Aug and how do you achieve this?
To strengthen self-empowerment, community cohesion and cultural inclusion.
We do this by upscaling and promoting unsupported talents and skills in communities, using performing arts such as African drumming, dancing and acrobatics. We also support business start-ups in the areas of website and graphic design, bookkeeping and accountancy, marketing and market research.
Where does the name Uncle-Aug come from?
It came from a moment of reflection, self-motivation and maturity. I have many nieces and nephews (real and imaginary) out there who need a role model to guide them through their life journeys. For anyone to assume the role of an uncle in social and cultural work, they must be a mature, experienced and motivated person. I feel I have those qualities, and many people in the Walworth area and beyond call me Uncle Augustine – Uncle-Aug is just the shortened version.
In what ways does Uncle-Aug support the Elephant & Castle community?
We work to bridge the barriers imposed by unawareness of other people’s cultures, and run high-impact projects that support cohesion, cultural awareness and a sense of inclusion.
Walworth Jam is one of Uncle-Aug’s projects. What is it?
‘Jam’ was the name we gave to our freestyle African drumming and dancing sessions, led by a master drummer and a choreographer, when we initially set up from our base in Pembroke House, then East Walworth. As these sessions grew in size, with participants coming from across London and organisers of community events – such as The Walworth Society and Friends of Pasley Park – inviting us to collaborate, it became appropriate to name it ‘Walworth Jam’. By bringing together people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, without regard to race, colour, age, gender or national differences, to socialise and have fun, we achieved the ‘community cohesion’ part of Uncle-Aug’s aim.
As the founder of Uncle-Aug, can you explain why you set it up?
Uncle-Aug is my contribution to bridging barriers between people and, through that, establishing a platform to enable social, cultural and economic self-empowerment and inclusivity. The organisation brings alternative creative and innovative community support programmes to Elephant & Castle.
What can people expect from Afro Jam?
There will be brilliant performances by artists from the African and Caribbean communities, who will portray the enthusiastic and energetic calling of the African drums alongside acrobatic dances. There will also be a live performance from Walworth Jam, as well as market stalls selling arts and crafts, business products, world food and fashion, and a beer tent.
Why did you choose to hold Afro Jam in Elephant Park?
Since the park was regenerated, Uncle-Aug has wanted an opportunity to explore the new entertainment space and see what it offers for organisers of events or festivals. Each time we visit here, we see the comfort of a new green space, budding and gleaming with hope in this part of London.
For more information about Uncle-Aug, visit www.uncle-aug.org