First ever African Festival set for Sept. 7 at Lincoln Park Band Stand |

First ever African Festival set for Sept. 7 at Lincoln Park Band Stand

Sharon Sullivan
Mathias and Jolene Mulumba with their two children, Zuri and Malayika.
Submitted by Jolene Mulumba |


WHAT: African Festival 9.7.13

WHERE: Lincoln Park Band Stand, 1210 Gunnison Ave.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 7

INFO: 970-234-9751 or 970-366-8191

Mathias Mulumba’s dream is coming true and he is thanking the Grand Valley community for its help in making it happen with an “African Festival” cultural event Sept. 7 at the Lincoln Park Band Stand.

Mulumba, a singer-songwriter and guitar player, will perform along with other musicians throughout the day, including local blues musician Steve Williams, singer-songwriter Butch Kline, John Brown, and the percussion group Talking Rhythms.

Mulumba will also share stories about life in Uganda.

“I will teach how Africans communicated in the past and why drums are so important to African people,” Mulumba said. “They’re an important source of information.”

Different beats signify various messages, that call to the community to come together, he said.

The Grand Junction Free Press told Mulumba’s story a couple of years ago when he and his wife, Grand Junction native Jolene (Hurt) Mulumba founded the nonprofit Father to the Fatherless. The couple met in 2004, when Jolene, a 2000 Central High School graduate, worked in Uganda as an intern with Engineering Ministries International.

Mulumba ran away from home at age 10 from an abusive aunt who had taken him in when he was 8, because his parents could not afford to take care of all their children. During that time, Mulumba had a recurring dream that he would someday care for orphaned children.

Mulumba was eventually rescued from the streets by Swedish missionaries and given food and a home. Later, after the missionaries returned to Sweden, a London couple who met Mulumba in Uganda while they were on vacation supported him. His London “mom” attended his wedding in 2008.

Since forming their 501(c)3 nonprofit two years ago, the Mulumbas have purchased 83 acres in Namuganga Village, Uganda, constructed a clay brick building to operate its organization, and have garnered sponsorships of more than 25 impoverished African children for school tuition, books, clothing and medical care. In some instances, it also pays for blankets, shoes and mattresses in boarding schools.

Donations have come from throughout the world, but the project started in Grand Junction where the couple reside with their two children, Malayika, nearly 4, and Zuri, 1.

Father to the Fatherless is collaborating with the Houston-based Living Water International who is drilling a well for the village where community members have been fetching their water from a small pond.

The organization is also partnering with Engineering Ministries International (comprised of architects, civil engineers and electrical engineers) who are in the process of developing a master plan for the 83-acre property. Jolene, a trained civil engineer, will travel to Uganda in September for two weeks to work with that group.

“My intention with the land is to create a home for suffering children and adults, particularly widows, street children and orphans,” Mulumba said. “I want to create a place where they can be comfortable and be loved.”

Mulumba also plans to eventually build a medical clinic on the property so people won’t be forced to walk several miles for medical attention, he said.

“We have offers of donated medical equipment but we lack storage. We could use a donated storage place,” he said.

Mulumba works for the Colorado Department of Transportation and volunteers his time for Father to the Fatherless, an organization run entirely by volunteers.


A number of nonprofit organizations will have informational booths set up at the event. There will also be various vendors selling local crafts, plus there will be face painting, games and other activities. Nonprofits and local businesses interested in a booth should contact Mulumba at 970-234-9751 or 970-366-8191; or e-mail or

People are invited to wear African-style clothing, with a prize for the person deemed the best representative of the culture.

The festival is one way to “give back to the community who has stood with us in a powerful way,” Mulumba said.

The event starts at 10 a.m., with music beginning around 11 a.m. Mulumba, who has written songs about his childhood and life in Uganda, will perform from 2-3 p.m.

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