VOL. 18 NO. 16 -- AUGUST 7, 2023

Our Stories and Features


Jonathan Gramling

The Joy of Africa Fest

Life is about relationships and opportunities that present themselves, opportunities not necessarily of our own making.

Back in the late 1980s, when I was vice-president of the Madison Urban League, we hired a woman newly arrive from Ghana to work in our single parent program. She was the late Dzigbodi Akyea. And it was through Dzigbodi that I got to know Aggo.

In the late 1990s, Aggo was chairing efforts to create Africa Fest. And since he knew that I had written proposals for the Urban League, we got together so that he could get a feel for funding sources that could possibly be interested in funding Africa Fest. And 1-2 years later, the first Africa Fest was held at the Monona Terrace. It was a spectacular affair that involved a parade around the Capitol Square while farmers market was still going on.

It was an excellent kick-off event that was held annual at Monona Terrace for the next five years. And then it was halted as its producer, the African Association of Madison, went through a reorganization. -- READ MORE