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The Key West Africana Festival³ - (3rd Biennial)

Key West Africana Festival

Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM - Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

The Key West Africana Festival³ - (3rd Biennial)

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Key West Africana Festival   more info Ended $125.00 $7.87
Philanthropic Donation Ended
Saturday Day Pass - Workshops Only Ended $75.00 $5.12
Key West Community w/ID   more info Ended Free $0.00

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Event Details

The Key West Africana Festival

Key West Africana Festival (June 22nd-25th), a three-day destination retreat and festival focusing on Thought, Wellness, Culture and Libation of the African Diaspora. KWAF's mission is to be the nation's premier, public gathering place for community leaders from the diaspora communities across disciplines to vacation and engage in inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape and challenge the Africana community in the U.S. and abroad. KWAF is Sponsored by Indaba and Jam Jar Wines of South Africa. "Indaba" is Zulu for "the meeting of the minds" and very fitting for our purposes.

All the while enjoying the influences of Caribbean, African-American and Afro-Latino culture that is evident in all of Key West. We celebrate that music, art and culture while enjoying a beautiful destination vacation in Key West. Integrating the local neighborhood of Bahama Village, the Key West African Burial Ground and the Historic Henrietta Marie salvaged Slave Ship.

To view program please goto:


KWAF Founder on "Good Morning Florida Keys with Jenna Stauffer": The Mission (6/2013)


KWAF was Founded by Christopher Norwood, J.D. with Co-Founder Dr. James Peterson, as an extension of their national work focused on issues of education, community development and cultural awareness, inspired by their love of travel and interaction within a global community.


La Concha Hotel - Crown Plaza, is a beautiful Key West hotel and resort that exudes vintage charm and contemporary elegance is a National Historic Landmark in the heart of Key West’s Historic District. This legendary Key West hotel has been inspiring guests like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams (he finished Street Car Named Desire at the hotel) since opening in 1926. From the moment you step into this iconic hotel, you feel relaxed and in harmony. Please call the hotel @ 305-295-3271 for preferred rates by referencing "Key West Africana Festival" by May 23rd. 


Keynote Speaker and Ambassador
The 2013 Inaugural KWAF Keynote Speaker and Ambassador was Georgetown Professor and MSNBC Contributor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. In 2015 our Keynote Speaker and Ambassador was Dr. Margo Natalie Crawford, Cornell University Associate Professor of English. She is most known for her work on the 1960s and 70s Black Arts Movement. Her book "New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement" is her seminal work. The Board of Directors of KWAF is proud to announce Actor Malik Yoba as our 2017 Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. Malik is an actor and occasional singer. He is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J. C. Williams on the Fox police drama New York Undercover and as Yul Brenner in Cool Runnings. He also appeared as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on the Syfy drama series Alphas, as Jim Hudson in Revolution as well as Vernon Turner in Empire. Currently, he stars in the role of FBI Deputy Director Jason Atwood in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor. He and his co-star Michael DeLorenzo made history as the first cop-drama featuring actors of color in both leading roles on NY Undercover. Yoba went on to star in several television series. In 2011, he began teaching a course entitled “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. In 2014, he joined the cast of the Fox series Empire, starring alongside actor Terrence Howard. In 1994, The New York Times named Yoba one of 30 young artists under the age of 30 who would change American culture in the next thrity years. Yoba was honored with three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for his work on New York Undercover.

Behind the scenes interview and conversation on "Media and Community Wellness", during the Key West Africana Festival with KWAF Co-Founder Dr. James Braxton Peterson and KWAF Ambassador and Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

Indaba Workshops ("Indaba" is Zulu for "meeting of the minds")
Our Workshops are informal and fun for vacationers during the Key West Africana Festival that will focus on Community Wellness. We anticipate workshops on 1) Black Thought 2) Relationship Wellness 3) Physical Wellness. Each workshop panel will be lead by industry professionals from the worlds of the academy, medicine, relationships and the Black Issues. 

Cultural Heritage Tourism 
We believe Key West offers African Americans and people of the Diaspora a bona fide Jewel in Cultural Tourism. Key West is a perfect location for Africana Cultural Tourism because of:

The African Cemetery @ Higgs Beach
President Buchanan in 1859 ordered a blockade of Cuba with Navy steamers to intercept any American-owned slave ships. In the Spring of 1860, three slave ships intercepted by the US Navy in its efforts to stop the illegal trade in humans, were brought to Key West. Sailors boarded the Wildfire, the William and the Bogota, finding the Africans living in deplorable conditions. These American-owned ships were bound for Cuba, where their human cargo was to be sold to the thriving sugar plantations. A total of 1,432 Africans arrived from these ships, and they came with nothing. The 3,000 citizens of the island, led by United States Marshal Fernando Moreno, came together and built housing, donated clothing, and provided food and medical attention for them during their stay. These surprise guests were welcomed graciously. Soldiers, carpenters and others quickly built a barracks and a hospital on a three-acre compound on what is the United States' southernmost point. Many passed away and were buried in Key West and a memorial was erected to celebrate their lives.

Henrietta Marie
The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that carried captive Africans to the West Indies, where they were sold as slaves. The ship wrecked at the southern tip of Florida on its way home to England, and is one of only a few wrecks of slave ships that have been identified. In the summer of 1700, the English merchant-slaver Henrietta Marie sank in unknown circumstances thirty-five miles west of Key West, Florida. Shortly before this mishap, she had sold a shipment of 190 captive Africans in Jamaica. The Mel Fisher Marine Museum in Key West houses the artifacts, which are considered the best preserved slave ship artifacts in the world.

Bahama Village
Bahama Village is a neighborhood in the City of Key West, Florida, Monroe County, United States. It is located southwest of downtown, in Old Town. It covers over a 16-block area that lies southwest of Whitehead Street and northeast of Truman Annex, bordered by Whitehead, Southard, Fort and Louisa Streets. It was once a primarily black neighborhood, and is named for its many original residents who were of Bahamian ancestry. The entrance to the village on Petronia Street has an open-air flea market, shops and restaurants, and has recently become a small tourist attraction. Bahamians began visiting the Florida Keys in the 18th century to salvage wrecked ships, fish, catch turtles and log tropical hardwood trees. A Bahamian settlement in the Keys was reported in 1790, but the presence of Bahamians in the keys was temporary. Early in the 19th century some 30 to 40 Bahamian ships were working in the keys every year. After 1825, Bahamian wreckers began moving to Key West in large numbers. Bahamians were among the first Caribbean’s to arrive to the mainland US in the late nineteenth century. Many went to Florida to work in agriculture or to Key West to labor in fishing, sponging, and turtling. Two main factors that contributed to increased Bahamian migration were the poor economic climate and opportunities, as well as the short distance from the Bahamas.


San Carlos Institute

The San Carlos is a multi-purpose facility that serves as a museum, library, art gallery, theater, and school. Located in the heart of Key West, the San Carlos is considered to be the cradle of Cuba's independence movement. It was at the San Carlos that José Martí united the exile community in 1892 to launch the final phase of his campaign for Cuba's independence. The San Carlos operated as one of America’s first bilingual and racially integrated schools. For more than a century, children of all races attended school at the San Carlos Institute where classes were taught in English and Spanish.

Please visit our website for the Festival schedule: 

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