FabAfriq Magazine

“All that glitters is not gold, but anything exotic is truly exciting”

19 and 22 degrees Celsius was the temperature of the capital on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August/2012, and the air of West London was filled with some tropical aromas of Jerk Chicken, coconut juice and other spicy foods...difficult to believe that we were actually in a Western Caucasian arena.  This year’s 48th Notting Hill Carnival again attracted hundreds of thousands across the globe who streamed, navigated and ducked in the city to sense and feel the carnival fever. 
Hundreds of revelers in their colourful costumes that ranged from plumage, golden plated Bikinis to African and Butterfly-styled masks were fired up energetically as they demonstrated elegantly to the sounds and rhythms of the Steel Drum Carnival convoy. Jammed with an ocean of admirers, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill and Portobello Road area were filled with a variety of performers and reporters from different areas and media worldwide – in quest of a seemingly Red Hot Chilli Pepper upshot. Initiated some 48 years ago by the local West Indian community to celebrate different cultures and traditions in the capital, the West London festivity has gained an enormous popularity to become Europe’s highest summer celebrations. 
The giant speakers of the Techno-Sound Parade kept spitting out heavy sounds, elevating the climax with a sleek blend of Afro-Caribbean selected rumba and méréngué. And very few were left indifferent by that rousing tempo and crescendo... (Your reporter included). The whole ambiance reminded me of my native Cameroon with its cultural festivities like the Sawa Ngondo, the Bamoun Ngouèn, or the Nso Ngonnso where people equally celebrate and dance and drench every year – though with some meagre economic interests as compared to the Notting Hill Carnival.
Other touching issues experienced during the festivities were the expression of joy, the camaraderie and candour amongst a variety of faces and races, with the sense of tolerance towards one another. The multicultural nature of this cosmopolitan city could not be displayed and celebrated in a better way. Despite some minor troubles that were quickly neutralised by the Metropolitan Police, it was truly overwhelming and heart-warming seeing vuvuzelas, whistles, accolades and flags of different nations flying together in a ‘one man/one love’ spirit. And that convinced me once again that our differences can be used differently in togetherness, with tolerance and elegance to make a difference. We may loathe or love it; the carnival has proven to be another event that certainly divides minds but unarguably wins hearts...
Yes, a handful of people live and leave the carnival engulfed with the feel good factor – after being knocked off their feet!

Photos credit by Ben Bin Meh, Member of The Royal Photographic Society UK

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