top of page



On Sept. 11, 1989Chihamba board members decided to create a festival in the Charlottesville, Virginia area for the purposeof celebrating African American Culture. Our founders birthed an organization that not only teaches the community but inspires and uplifts. Inspiration for this festival emerged from previous festivals such as the 1988 Fredericksburg Black Arts Festival as well as Charlottesville's 1984 ad 1985 Sol Fest. Chihamba recruited committee members under the direction of Baba Jamal Koram, one of theoriginal founders of Sol Fest that would be able to reach the community by building upon Chihamba's existing mission.

Since the origination of Chihamba's African American Cultural Arts Festival, our founders birthed an organization that not only teaches the community but inspires and uplifts.​

From the seeds planted in 1989 Chihamba has blossomed and grown. We teach adults and youth through traditional West African music and dance. Every rhythm is a message and every movement a story! Our Chihamba Dance Company engages with every audience they stand before. Our storytellers use African parables and proverbs to give positive messages that celebrate life and culture. In the drum circle we teach you traditional rhythms and the meaning of the drum call. 

Since July 1990, the African American Cultural Arts Festival has continuedto celebrate the rich heritage of people of African ancestry as well as their contributions to the community, nation and world.

An evening featuring important updates on women's health issues, community connection, fashions from the motherland, featuring models from other community organizations with healthy soulful refreshments. A pallet pleasing cultural experience with food from Ghana and Kenya and interesting topics of discussion with performance from Chihamba Company.

Our organization also gives back to our up-and-coming future scholars. Every year we give surrounding high school students the opportunity to apply for the African American Heritage Scholarship. For more info, please see our support page.




Lillie Williams

Festival Co- Chair


Von Parrish

Festival Co- Chair


Ruby Stradford  Boston

Co- Chair/ Consultant

bottom of page