Mama Afrika Festival Lands Sept. 26

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MomsRising members on the giant Chutes and Ladders game board that will be at the Mama Afrika Festival

UPDATE: The Mama Afrika Festival has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25, due to the rain.

It’s fall festival time in the Triangle. That means lots of fun, educational opportunities for families to spend time together. This fall, MomsRising is thrilled to be a part of the Mama Afrika Festival, taking place noon-7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Anderson Point Park in Raleigh.

Recently, I met with the creator behind this multicultural celebration to learn more about her and the history of the festival. Pearl Forbes, also known as Mama Afrika, is from Liberia, West Africa and grew up in Raleigh. A self-described mother, housewife, business woman and community leader, Pearl had a vision to raise awareness of the African culture through education, music, arts and food while also creating unity and peace within the community. The Mama Afrika Festival and Family Fun day was born three years ago with a motto of “Divided by Water, United by Culture,” which Pearl explains as “our physical locations are varied but we share common goals, concerns, music, morals, trends and we believe in the empowerment of all men, women, and children.”

This year, NC MomsRising is honored to be a part of the Mama Afrika Festival, offering brief workshops from 3-6 p.m. on policy issues that impact families in North Carolina. We will have a speaker from the N.C. Justice Center to talk about the budget this year and how it will impact families. We will be also speak with the group on how you can get involved in encouraging policies that work for all families in our state. Children are encouraged to attend, and we will have fun crafts and activities for them to do, including our huge, life-sized Chutes and Ladders board!

The Mama Afrika Festival offers a day of fun for your entire family, including music performances, drum circle, speakers, kids’ station, fashion show, bounce house, soccer games, vendors, spoken word, African dance and food!

Pearl doesn’t stop with planning a huge community celebration. She has started her own farm with a main crop being the Moringa plant. Moringa, also known as the “tree of life”, is native to parts of Africa and Asia, and Pearl began the farm after her own personal illness inspired her to give back to her community through health and wellness. “When I got sick with kidney disease, I decided to change my life around and try to get a farm and teach family the importance of eating right and growing your own food,” says Pearl of her beginnings as a farmer. Mama Afrika Growth runs the farm, offering free summer classes, with a mission of delivering fresh, wholesome, and healthy foods to the community from their farms in NC. Learn more about the Mama Afrika Growth community farm project at

When I asked Pearl what she looks forward to most at this year’s festival, she said, “To see how the community works to foster love and acceptance, so that we may begin to see our differences as a beautiful cultural quilt that warms the hearts and minds of people.”

I can’t wait to be a part of this beautiful celebration this year. Come join us! MomsRising will be holding workshops underneath the large picnic shed area from 3-6 p.m. Come join us for a fun and memorable day with your family!

Melea Rose-Waters is a member of MomsRising and mom from Wake Forest. 


Categories: Festivals, Guest Bloggers