FOR the very first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the 53 African National Olympic Committees will have a hospitality house at the very heart of London during the world's biggest sporting showcase this year.
The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca) on Monday announced that they will be setting up an "African Village" in London's Kensington Gardens during the 2012 Olympic Games from July 27 to August 12.
The Africa Village is designed to welcome visitors throughout the 2012 London Olympic Games.
According to Anoca, the general public will be invited to take a journey and discover the cultural, artistic and sporting riches of Africa.
"There will be stands presenting the very best of each African country with modern and traditional music concerts, fashion, dancing, photo exhibitions and a restaurant . . . so that all those in love with Africa and the most curious of visitors can immerge themselves in African culture and discover its diversity, talent and dynamism."
Africa Village will be made up of two areas Africa Land and Africa House.
Africa Land will allow a wide audience to discover a village of stands presenting the cultural and artistic diversity of the African continent through an exhibition area and a restaurant open to the general public.
Africa Land will have several animations all along the Games and will include:
Music and dance everyday, fashion show, performance, theatre will take place on stage and in the local stands. Several artists are already confirmed, Nigerian musicians, an Algerian singer, an Ethiopian drummer, a famous band from Morocco and an Angolan bassist.
Live view on the giant screens to discover all day long the hottest news of the competitions, participating African athletes and special reports from Anoca's media partner.
An exhibition of photos of legendary African sports-people from previous Games, inviting people to discover participation of Africa in the story of the Olympic Games.
Everyday African athletes will come to celebrate their medals and there will be live interviews, demonstrations and "cheers" on stage!
Some of the African countries that are expected to be at Africa Village are: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
The Africa Village, Anoca said, will be open to all and access to the village is free of charge for visitors from 9am to 10pm every day from July 27 to August 12.
Africa House will, meanwhile, be the official area for Anoca and the 53 African NOCs to welcome sport and Olympic family, African sports leaders and of course all the African athletes competing in London.
"Every African medal will be celebrated at the Africa House with the athletes and supporters. The Africa House will be the intimate place for NOCs to meet with the sport family, their athletes.
"Moreover, several events will take place in the Africa House like the General Assembly of Anoca. The access of the Africa House is restricted to invited and accredited people," Anoca said in a statement.
Anoca president, Intendant Lassana Palenfo added: "We created Africa Village to offer the public, the National Olympic Committees and African athletes a unique opportunity to fully participate in the Olympic festivities, whatever their means.
"This area will act as an exceptional showcase for our continent in the eyes of the general public, the eight million visitors expected during the Games and also decision makers from around the world.
"We are extremely proud that for this world first, Africa Village will benefit from such a prestigious and valued environment as Kensington Gardens, at the very heart of London".
This is the first time that Anoca will be coming up with this initiative after having been impressed by the performances of the African countries at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in 2008.
At the Beijing Games, the 53 African NOCs were represented by 857 athletes who won 40 medals (12 gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze for the continent.
Thirteen out of 53 African nations got at least one medal.
Kenya came first among the African nations (15th in the general ranking) with 14 medals including five gold!.
In second position was Ethiopia who won seven medals (18th in the general ranking).