Nigerians to celebrate independence day with Houston Nigerian Day Festival

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of Houston's largest African cultural events is happening this weekend, and organizers say there's no need to worry about the rain because this is a free indoor event with social distancing.

Sixty-one years after Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom, Houston will mark its 8th Nigerian Day Festival on Saturday.

Clara Igwala-Anumege, the founder of The Nigerian Independence Day organization, encouraged everyone this year to wear ethnic attire. The theme in 2021 is Nigerian fashion, and models are preparing to take the runway during the event.

Visitors will have the chance to try free Nigerian food, listen to authentic music, and learn about the culture and their history.

"With everything going on in Nigeria and rumors of the country wanting to break up, we are here to make sure that the whole world knows that we do not want our country to break up," said emcee Usenika Mason. "We want one Nigeria, we want Nigeria to progress, and we want Nigeria to be on the world stage doing what every other country is doing."

With these efforts, Nigerian Day aims to educate others about the nation's diverse culture.

"This is for all Nigerians in the U.S.," organizer Sylvia Akingbade said. "We are open to all cultures and welcome everyone."

Mason said she believes it is important for Houstonians "to see how much passion we have, the effort we put to make sure we stay one country, project our culture and project everything that Nigeria stands for: that they will come in (solidarity) behind us to maintain our unity."

Organizers said this is a great event for the entire family, featuring a kid's zone, face painting and children's books so little ones can also learn about Nigerian history.

The event will take place at Royal Hall, 11933 Bissonnet St., in Houston.
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