WHAT’S ON AND WHEN AT ARIK AIR DESTINATIONS
December • Lagos
Studio 29, a long-awaited new fashion destination, builds on the huge success of Africa Fashion Week. Founded two years ago and growing from 4,700 guests to over 20,000 a year later, the London-based celebration and showcase for the best of African designers opened to huge acclaim, and it now has its own concession boutique, stocking an edited selection of the best and most coveted designer pieces from the stellar talent displayed at the festival, in addition to a diverse range of designers from across Africa and beyond. The shop opens in Lagos in December. More information about the launch can be found online, by visiting africafashionweeklondon.com
The Great Christmas Pudding Race
1 December • London
London is no stranger to eccentric events, but this one takes the cake – literally. To celebrate Christmas and to raise money for Cancer Research UK, teams of six members each gather in London donning their best gay apparel to race each other through an obstacle course full of giant inflatables, including a slalom. Oh, and the icing (no pun intended) on the cake? Each team has to balance a teetering plate with a steaming Christmas pudding on it while running and dodging reindeer, elves, and tourists alike. It’s held in Covent Garden Market, one of the busiest spots in the capital over the Christmas period, so arrive before 11 am to watch a highlight of the season. If you’d like to compete and raise money for yourself, you can register at:
End of December • Calabar
A whole month of events during the Calabar Festival means that you’re spoilt for choice. Throughout December, there are theatre performances, fairs to please the foodies and fashionistas alike, and stellar music performances. Musicians from Alpha Blondy and Akon to Fat Joe and NeYo have performed here, so it won’t be surprising to hear that almost a million people from around the world showed up last year. In addition to the entertainment, there are ‘Big Idea’ discussions, Q&A sessions, and workshops for young and old alike.
All this leads up to the Calabar Carnival, held on December 28th and 29th. Called ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’, and with good reason, it is a parade of around 100,000 costumed partiers showcasing the dance, drama, and music of the region. calabarfestival.com
Africa Cup Of Nations
19 January–10 February • Johannesburg & other cities
Early incidents meant that there was some doubt over whether the 2013 Africa Cup Of Nations would even happen. Senegal was famously disqualified from the competition over rioting fans during a qualifying match, and Libya, the original host, was plunged into civil war. However, the most coveted sporting title on the continent is again up for grabs this year, the host country having changed to South Africa after their successful World Cup. Sixteen countries from across the continent will field teams that include some of the best football players around the world. The opening match and final will be held at Soccer City in Johannesburg on January 19th. Other cities hosting matches include Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit, and Rustenburg, so wherever you are in South Africa, you’ll have the chance to attend a match, watch some amazing players, and (hopefully) cheer your team to victory. For more detail, see www.mtnfootball.com
Until March • London
London is hosting a revolutionary exhibition that allows humans an unprecedented experience heretofore only seen in comic books and wild fantasies – the amazing experience of walking through rain without getting wet. Brave participants can go to The Curve at the Barbican to walk through a room of torrential rain, enveloped by a dry cocoon that seemingly moves as you move. Organised by experimental art group Random International, this feat of technology took three painstaking years to develop. Amazingly, given the uniqueness of the experience, admission is free, although you may have to queue for a spot. It’s well worth it, though, and definitely one for the curious child in us all. The Rain Room is open from 12-5pm daily. barbican.org.uk
15-16 February • Johannesburg
This unmissable concert, featuring the enigmatic figure from the recent and highly-recommended documentary Searching For Sugarman, has special resonance with people all over South Africa, even though Rodriguez remains unknown to most of the world. Outside of South Africa, Rodriguez was a musician who released an album in 1969 and then disappeared into obscurity. In South Africa, however, this same album, banned by the Apartheid regime, became an integral part of the soundtrack to the resistance. Rodriguez, who had now blended into the background of workaday Detroit, had no idea he was a star until 40 years after his album was first released.
The legendary singer will play at Carnival City, Johannesburg. Tickets can be booked by calling the venue at 011 898 7000, or online. computicket.com
25 January • Luanda
Luanda lights up in January, when people across the city toss off their work clothes and put on their party gear for Luanda’s 437th birthday. There are events and parties all over the city, and especially downtown, where there will be live music, a photo exhibition, and people stomping and dancing to the beat everywhere. In addition, there are jaw-dropping capoeira demonstrations, stalls with the best of local and international cuisine, and a carnival. Those wanting to delve deeper into Luanda’s cultural heritage, which the day celebrates, can join the many bus trips and walking tours around the city as well.