Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Igbo New Yam Festival Celebrated in London (Photos)

Igbo New Yam Festival Celebrated in London
2013 is a landmark year for ICSN Iri Ji or New Yam Festival. Last sunday was the 15th year anniversary. This year’s Iri Ji Festival was not just solely about honouring our culture, and continuing the legacy of the New Yam festival, but also about paying homage, and respecting the lineage of our unique organisation ICSN, hence this year’s titled " ICSN Iri Ji (New Yam) Festival 2013 & 15 Year Anniversary Celebration
The ICSN Iri Ji (New Yam) Festival 2013 & 15 Year Anniversary Celebration
ICSN(Igbo Cultural Support Network) is the UK’s largest networking organisation for young adults of Nigerian Igbo descent. The organisation currently has a membership of over 1,500 members and is growing.
The London Borough of Hackney was blessed for a second year in a row. Having still not gotten over the beautiful showcase of Igbo cultural pride we displayed last year, the Petchey Academy was yet again the venue for another splendid projection of the Igbo community London.

In our towns back in Nigeria there is usually an Iroko Drum, in every village that when hit summons the whole community to stop what they are doing, and congregate at a specific place to hear special announcements. In this case the drum of ICSN on the evening of Saturday 19th October was struck, and judging by the many that attended, the echo off the drum could clearly be heard, all over London, the whole of the UK, and even Nigeria.

Over 500 people attended this year, the most we have ever had.
New Yam Festival Photos


We first paid homage, and acknowledged the various dignitaries who honoured us with their presence this year.
The high table comprised of various distinguished elders from within our community, many execs, and heads of Igbo community organisations.

Thank you to the high table attendees;

•    Eze Okosisi Edwin Ezeanyika XI of Uruala

•    Mr Edward Wood (Director of Public Information House of Commons)
•    Mayor Cllr Kate Anolue ( Mayor of Enfield )
•    Chimzulum Ezigboh (ICSN President)
•    Chief Chidi Oli (Amandianaeze)

We were also humbled by the various VIPS who took time out from their schedules to support us, Imeela (Thanks) to the following;
•    Nonso Anozie: Award winning Actor, whose resume consists of films like; Cass, Rock N Rolla, Conan the Barbarian.
•    Nena Ubani: Founder of Duchess TV & host of Tea With the Duchess, & Founder of Igbokwenu Radio
•    Obi Emelonye: Pioneering Film Director, whose recent film ONYE OZI (The Messenger) which premiered the night before, was the first Nollywood film made in the UK in the Igbo language.
•    Ngozi Igwebike: The new rising star in the movie industry. Ngozi who made her film debut, as the lead actress in ONYE OZI (The Messenger), blessed us with her presence.
•    John Okafor aka Mr Ibu: Nollywood Actor/Comedian. He has acted in over 70 films, including Mr Ibu, Mr Ibu in London, and his latest Mr Ibu in Sierra leone
All the attendees were really proud of what ICSN had showcased to the wider community.
The various presentations/performances ranging from;

•    The cutting of the yam by Eze Okosisi Edwin Ezeanyika XI of Uruala

•    A presentation on "The History of ICSN" by Yvonne Ofonagoro (founding member of ICSN).She gave an eloquent presentation on the journey of ICSN from 1998 to present.
•    Performance by Chuka Royalty (Hiphop/Afrobeat) gave the attendees that organic hip-hop mixed with Igbotic vibes.

•    The presentation of ICSN Executive members past and present who to this day go out of their way to ensure ICSN continues to progress year after year.  It was a beautiful site to see, past members still supporting the organisation, from the host of the evening Charles Emeka (former ICSN President), to Edel Meremikwu (former Kwenu Newsletter Editor), to name a few.
•    The dancers from the Arochukwu Community UK put on a wonderful cultural dance, showing us how things are done in Abia State.
•    Even the masquerade got the memo about the special occasion, as he done his job, plus some extra.

•    ICSN Dance Troup aka Egwu Oganiru did not disappoint. Yet again they put on an amazing, and skilful cultural performance, showcasing their new moves, and steps which they have been working extremely hard on. They deservingly came out a new swaga, on the back of recently being nominated for Best Dance Group, at both, The NUBAA (Nigerian UK Based Achievers Awards), and the BEFFTA Awards 2013 (Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion Television, and Arts).

•    We even had a special yam auction, which consisted of people winning both yam, and boxes’ of Indomie. This really wetted the attendee’s appetites, as Indomie is fast becoming a staple dish in many African homes.

•    The arrival of John Okafor (Mr Ibu) really added something extra to the occasion. It brought home how far the ICSN has reached. He gave us a stint of his comedy, and showed off his dancing skills.

No Iri Ji Festival would be complete without the staple Iri Ji Festival foods; Yam Porridge, Powdered Yam, Fried Yam, Boiled Yam. We also did not forget the staple function dishes. Jollof/Fried Rice, chicken, beef, moi moi, plantain, fish, tripe, and pepper soup.

Once the main festivities were done, it was Dance Dance Dance till late night.

To Join Igbo Cultural and Support Network in the UK visit

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