The rich flavors of African cuisine return to Washington D.C. with the highly-anticipated Jollof Festival, taking place on Aug. 6th. (Photo Courtesy of The Jollof Festival)

By Askya Alexander,
Special to the AFRO

A diverse tapestry of communities coalesce in the nation’s capital. In the midst of this vibrant cultural diaspora lies an incredible array of foods, traditions and delights from all corners of the world. 

On Aug. 6, the city’s long-standing tradition of fostering multicultural fellowship will prove no different as the much-awaited Jollof Festival makes its triumphant return.

Organized by a visionary event curator, Ismael Osekre brings to D.C. an annual celebration of food, culture and community, promising to be an unforgettable experience for attendees and participants alike. 

“I think there are a lot of people who have heard about African culture and history, but have not even tasted African food or had a chance to taste certain dishes,” said Osekre. 

“I think Jollof rice, because it’s rice and rice-based dishes are easy for people to kind of access,  becomes like that gateway for a lot of people to experience African cuisine.” 

Inspired by the love and nostalgia associated with the beloved dish, the festival has grown to become an immersive excursion that visits multiple cities nationwide. It brings people together from all works of life, showing that jollof rice is much more than a meal– it’s a symbol of unity, a reason to celebrate, share stories and connect with others. The festival presents a unique opportunity for West Africans to proudly present their culinary heritage and share the flavors that have been passed down through generations.

“Hajara’s Kitchen’s participation in the Jollof Festival in Washington D.C. is a significant opportunity to showcase the rich culinary heritage of Nigeria,” said Hajara MK Ahmed, founder of Hajara’s Kitchen. 

“Through our authentic dishes and jollof rice, we aim to promote Nigerian culture and cuisine on an international stage. This participation not only highlights the diversity of Nigerian gastronomy but also reinforces the global recognition of Nigerian cuisine as a vibrant and delicious culinary tradition.”

For just $28, festival-goers can savor variations of the dish from five countries– Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal –each with its own distinctive flair and unforgettable taste. This culinary journey promises to tantalize taste buds and leave food enthusiasts craving more. In addition to food, visitors will be treated to a lively atmosphere that’ll instantly transport everyone to the multidimensional environment of Africa. 

This year’s festival promises to introduce exciting new elements and surprises that will delight all attendees, old and new, as visitors explore the evolution of Jollof rice throughout the past, present and future.

If you’re in the D.C. metropolitan area this weekend, whether you’re a West African expatriate yearning for a taste of home or a curious foodie eager to explore new flavors and cultures, the Jollof Festival is an event not to be missed. Come with an empty stomach and an open heart, and you’ll leave with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for West African culture.

Let your love of Jollof rice transport you to the heart of Africa, right in the heart of Washington D.C. Don’t delay, the Jollof Festival awaits. 

Tickets are on sale now at