‘Passport to Africa’ in Encinitas celebrates arts, culture


Encinitas Friends of the Arts (EFA) will celebrate the diversity of African arts and culture at its Passport to Africa event on Friday, April 29, 6:30-9 p.m. at the Encinitas Community Center, located at 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas, 92024.

“This is the 4th event in the Passport to the Arts series and will include authentic music and dance performances by top African artists, plus visual art, a marketplace of original art and goods, and delicious cuisine,” said EFA Naimeh Tanha Woodward, EFA president.

The evening begins with South African cuisine by celebrated caterer Perky’s. Attendees can purchase a variety of one-of-a-kind items from the African Marketplace and the artwork of four local visual artists, two of whom were raised in South Africa. Susie Lotzof’s photographs reveal South Africa’s rich wild life and nature. Artist Terri Slender uses acrylics and oils to capture the beauty of her native country in a sophisticated, painterly manner.

Thomas Thomas and Tish Wynne, two celebrated North County artists, will exhibit sculpture and paintings. Attendees can create a typical anklet, worn by African dancers, to enhance their movement and dancing pleasure.

The event is also a fundraiser for Pacific View, with a silent auction of original artworks and sculpture available for purchase. “We are pleased to partner with EFA and raise funds for the new arts center in Encinitas,” said Garth Murphy, director of the Alliance for Arts, Culture and Ecology.

Zimbeat will perform the traditional village music of Zimbabwe. The music is based on the Shona peoples’ traditional instrument, the mbira, often referred to as “the thumb piano.”

ZimBeat will accompany South African performer extraordinaire, Nomsa Burkhardt, who was raised in KwaZulu, a region of South Africa renowned for its rich Zulu heritage and culture. Nomsa is an extraordinary Zulu dancer, folk singer and percussionist. Nomsa has toured throughout the USA, South Africa, Israel, Italy, and Germany. She is the cofounder of IZINDE, an Afro-fusion band made up of artists from around the world.

Filmmaker Maria Conti-Asher will screen her short film, which captures unbelievable footage of wildlife at SabiSabi, a private game reserve, renowned for its abundant concentration of wildlife, especially when it comes to the big five — lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros. Sabi Sabi is located in the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest game reserve.

Led by Niancho Sanneh, originally from Senegal, the African Dance Troupe’s mission is to unlock the transforming power of the arts by providing quality cultural programs open to all people with a focus of educating and communicating the life of Africa’s ancestral past and present. This group performs and conducts workshops throughout the city, State, and nationally.

The event will feature a dynamic performance by Bhakti Griots, a San Diego based music and dance group originally from West Africa. Bhakti, from India’s ancient Sanskrit language, means selfless devotion. “Griots,” from West Africa, refers to a traveling group of artists who specialize in storytelling. Bhakti Griots include dancers Kirti Srivastava and Nadra White, and drummers Nana Yaw Aseidu, Vikas Srivastava and Nigel Zuniga. The performance is a high-energy journey based on technical mastery, artistic passion and divine guidance. The mission of Bhakti Griots is to channel and share a sacred experience through music, dance and poetry while celebrating the shared cultural ancestry and history of West Africans and Indians.

In keeping with the EFA mission to celebrate diversity through arts and culture, the event will foster an appreciation and fresh awareness of the arts and culture from the Dark Continent.

Seating is limited; the event is expected to sell out. Tickets for the show, food and drinks are $25 for EFA members and $30 general. The best deal is the combo package: 1 year EFA membership and admission for $40. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Tickets: For more information, please email or call 619-414-8929.