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Alkebulan In The City: Leiden

Every week, one of our reporters is going to visit one of the cities in Holland to ask people on the street about their opinion about certain subjects. For this first week, I, Patrick, walked the streets of Leiden to ask people about our festival and what they thought of it.

I was curious if random people would understand and value the meaning behind the festival and of course if they would come. I purposefully didn’t tell them too much about our vision. I wanted to find out if people would think of it themselves. I took the streets with the question: “What do you think of the Citizens of Alkebulan festival, a festival that celebrates all kinds of African cultures”

At first there were a lot of people passing me by without even wanting to hear my question. But one lady quickly stopped and listened to my question with obvious interest.

Me: What do you think of the Citizens of Alkebulan festival, a festival that celebrates all kinds of African cultures, and would you want to come?

Her: “The idea surely is original. I think it’s a good thing. Festivals attract so many people, they should all have more cultural influences from all over the world.”

What do you mean by that?
Her: “It’s important to show people with all kinds of different cultural backgrounds things about other cultures. Without festivals like these, no one will ever learn more about cultures they had nothing to do with in the first place. I think that’s important about festivals like these.”

I walked away suprised with the way she looked the message. She promised me she would buy a ticket as soon as she got home and that she would tell her friends about it!

After me and the woman had talked a bit and she left, more people were interested in what I was doing there. A group of young guys walked towards me. I decided to not let the fast walking and unresponsive people stop me. I started to talk to them. They were more interested in what music there was going to be than the actual message but they were excited nonetheless.

Well the music is very diverse, but mostly urban, influenced by cultures from all over Africa and other parts of the world. But what do you guys think about cultural festivals like this one?
Them: “Sounds good! Well, since everyone is welcome to celebrate all kinds of different cultures and people are always in a good mood at a festival, this seems like something good.”

Would you guys come as well?
Them: “Of course! As long as there’s music, laughter and good food we’ll be there!”


The guys and I went our separate ways and I went on to look for more people to talk to. I talked to a few of people the hour or so. A few girls told me one of their best friends loves to taste food and listen to music from all over the world and the 8th of July happens to be her birthday, so they are going to be there! One guy from South-Africa told me he would be there with his friends, since he has always wanted to take his friends to a festival like this one.

Leiden was a tough crowd at first. I didn’t really know what to expect but I get the feeling that Alkebulan has gained some attention in this city. The reactions most people give me are positive and enthusiastic, but it seems like a lot of people have never heard about a concept like this one.

Next week one of our reporters is going to be in another city somewhere in Holland, but then with a different question. Keep checking this blog for more stories about Alkebulan and the Citizens of Alkebulan festival!