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Nice to meet you at last: the Matongé-Europe Festival

15:16 03/06/2013

Europe and Africa are neighbours – not just on the world map, but in Brussels too. Sadly, while the EU district and the Mantongé neighbourhood have lived side by side for decades, they never really got to know one another. Or maybe they have never been properly introduced.

Because nothing unites people and communities as efficiently as a free event, the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office has come up with an idea ‘so simple it borders on genius’: setting up a free festival celebrating the dialogue between the capital’s African and EU quarters.

This first edition of the Matongé-Europe Festival will run from June 5 to June 9 and feature artistic, sports and social-orientated events.

The festival's attention getters: the 'Frites Sauce Manioc' Parade in collaboration with Zinneke, a freestyle street-football tournament and a concert in the heart of the European neighbourhood: the European Parliament esplanade!

The festival also comprises a debate, a bal moderne and an artistic city itinerary.

The European Quarter has a somewhat dusty, bureaucratic image, while Matongé is considered to be a ‘hot spot’. And in this way, several clichés are sent back and forth. The residents of and visitors to the two districts live together, but also apart from each other. In Brussels, Africa and Europe are not separated by the Mediterranean, but instead share an area of 2 sq. km. This festival aims to discover the boundaries. How powerful are our misconceptions? How rigid is an invisible border?  More importantly, who will cross the boundary?

The Matongé-Europe Festival is organised by the Brussels-Europe Liaison Office, GC Elzenhof, dance company t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e and Vlaams-Afrikaans Huis Kuumba.

Written by The Bulletin