A 300-strong African delegation, including veteran freedom fighter and Nelson Mandela confidante Ahmed Kathrada, will join the three-day World Culture Festival being hosted in New Delhi this month.
Organised by The Art of Living, a UN-accredited global NGO headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, WCF aims to be the first such historic gathering to celebrate peaceful co-existence and unity in diversity as it brings together people from different cultures, nations, and faiths as a one-world family in a resounding message of peace.
“We are a part of one humanity and we express ourselves differently through music, art and food. Celebrating our diverse cultures binds us together and expands our perspectives,” Shankar said.
“The WCF emphasises co-existence, demonstrating the power of peace by bringing millions of people together. It is an opportunity for world leaders from cultural, social, political, business fields to come together to rekindle human values in the pursuit of happiness and peace,” he added.
The WCF, which is being hosted from March 11-13, will feature a diverse program of cultural performances, addresses by dignitaries, an interfaith meet and platforms for leadership discussions.
Through the presentation of traditional and country- specific dance, music, art and costumes from around the world, the festival aims to foster a deeper mutual understanding between people of different faiths, nationalities and backgrounds, an important concern of the Art of Living.
Among the confirmed speakers are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee and a host of global leaders.
The African delegation comprises over 300 people from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Togo and Mauritius.
“We are honoured to have Mr Ahmed Kathrada joining us as a Guest of Honour at the event. Poor health has not enabled His Eminence Archbishop Desmond Tutu to join us, but he has posted a special message for the WCF,” said a spokesman for the South African organising team, Elisha Sirkissoon.
“South Africa together with our other African countries will be performing at the opening ceremony. The South African production ‘African Beats’ presents the miracle of our democracy through song and dance,” added Sirkissoon.
Part of the delegation includes two youth from Soweto who have never travelled outside of South Africa but have been active volunteers with the Art of Living’s community projects.