Igbo Festival of Arts & Culture, London

The Summer weather has been kind to London, though at times brutally humid (I have been working in an office with NO air con and the window is dodgy). There are so many events and festivals going on…. Most of my weekends have had me out and about celebrating weddings and christenings and births.

Last weekend I went to the Igbo Festival of Arts & Culture (“the Igbo Festival”) in Charlton Park, South London. While born, raised and living in the UK, my ethnic background is Nigerian, specifically Igbo, which is one of many tribes in Nigeria. Igboland is based in Southeastern Nigeria.

The Festival is designed to show off the rich culture and heritage of Igboland and Igbos; it was the coming together of many smaller Igbo communities that have been established in London and in the UK. There were presentations and parades of the different communities, with prizes for the best. My mum's community, Umuneke UK & Ireland Community scored 2nd place!

The Igbo Festival started in 2012 and celebrated its 5th year in July 2017. This was my 2nd time attending; my 1st attendance being in 2016. Attendance was high last year and even higher this year; I imagine attendance will only get higher year on year.

The weather was on point, we Igbos were colourful and loud, and the environment was live! The Festival was free to attend and is for all ages. It was great seeing a lot of families, children and young people of the Igbo Diaspora enjoying the day. For me a highlight was seeing the masquerades (mmanwu) fairly close up; masquerades are know to chase off females and (playfully) scare the children. Masquerades in Igbo culture are used to honour the dead and our ancestors; typically seen as the living dead.  

There are many cultural events and festivals taking place in London over the Summer (e.g. Ghana in the Park, Yoruba Arts Festival, Hyper japan); it is a great opportunity to explore different cultures, eat good food spend time with friends and family as well as meet new people. 

I look forward to attending next year!


  1. Wow... this looks like so much fun! I wish I could find something like this here in Toronto. The last 'mmanwu' I saw was about 4 years ago or so and I remember running haha. It was in Anambra though.

    Loved reading this. have a great day!


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