The Souk

The Souk


Posted 2023-06-21 by Zahra in the Saharafollow

Sun 18 Jun 2023

Captivating Souk Experience Celebrates Australian Refugee Association's Good Work

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending an extraordinary event that left me inspired and captivated. , organised by the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) as part of Refugee Week, was a remarkable celebration of culture, diversity, and empowerment. Located at the Tonsley Innovation District in Tonsley, Australia, this vibrant marketplace brought together people from all walks of life, promoting unity and understanding. As I immersed myself in the colourful tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavours, I couldn't help but be moved by the incredible work being done by the ARA to support and uplift refugees in our community.

From the moment I arrived, I was thrilled by the overwhelming support the Souk received from people all over Adelaide. The event organizers had painstakingly curated an impressive lineup of "merchants" (as they're referred to in Souk lingo), talented buskers, and tantalising street food offerings. The scene was set for an unforgettable experience.

The festivities commenced at 11 am with a heartfelt welcome from The Honourable Zoe Bettison, Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs. Minister Bettison, a steadfast supporter of ARA's initiatives, formally inaugurated the Souk after a Traditional Kaurna Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony. Although I couldn't capture these sacred moments through my lens, the essence of unity and respect permeated the air.
Cultural performances took centre stage, showcasing the rich tapestry of talent within our diverse community. The Sun of Africa Drum & Dance Ensemble, Dance Troupe, Oasis Dance Tribal Troupe, and The Chonkai Dancers from Columbia graced the stage with spellbinding performances that transported us to far-off lands. Each beat of the drum, each sway of the dancer's hips, and each vibrant costume evoked a sense of awe and appreciation for the cultural heritage being celebrated.

As I explored the sprawling complex, I marvelled at its sheer size and the thoughtful provision of ample, free parking. Signage guided me through the event, ensuring I didn't miss any of the hidden treasures awaiting discovery. , a part of ARA's Refugee Week celebrations, aimed to bring the lively and exhilarating ambience of a traditional Souk to Adelaide. And it succeeded beyond measure.

A Souk, traditionally found in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia, is a marketplace where merchants gather to trade, connect, and share their stories. Stepping into the Souk, I was transported to a world of sensory delights. I was serenaded by melodies I had never heard before, enveloped by a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, textures, and patterns, and enthralled by the enchanting performances of cultural entertainers and buskers. The market stalls overflowed with captivating products, from fresh produce, spices, oils, and plants to handmade crafts, jewellery, textiles, and unique artworks. And then there was the street food! The international flavours tantalised my taste buds, offering a culinary journey like no other.

Throughout the day, the Souk came alive with the mesmerising tunes and melodies of the talented buskers. George, a Latin American percussionist and vocalist, set the rhythm, while Morgan Taubert showcased his mastery of instruments from around the world. A Sun of Africa stilt walker added a touch of whimsy, and Oasis Tribal Belly dancers weaved their graceful movements amidst the crowd, engaging and delighting everyone in their path.

's location at the Tonsley Innovation District, adjacent to the picturesque Central Rainforest, added an element of natural beauty to the event. With its fully covered setup, the chilly winter weather was no match for the warmth and joy that permeated the venue. Families and friends found respite in the ample seating provided, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

showcased a multitude of merchants, each offering their unique creations and wares. Crafts by Susu, Emy. art. official, Josephina Skin Essentials, and Lajward FolkWear which I bought a beautiful handmade ottoman-style lappus luzai ring, they were just a few of the many stalls that captured the essence of cultural craftsmanship. Visitors were spoiled for choice with the diverse range of products, including ethically sourced treasures, handcrafted jewellery, skincare essentials, and stunning artworks. It was a true feast for the senses and a testament to the talent and resilience of the refugee community.

The event's success was made possible by the unwavering dedication and passion of Ksenija Bould, Event Manager, and the Australian Refugee Association. ARA, a non-government organisation and registered charity, has been serving the community since 1975. Their vision of a fair and equitable society, where every individual can fulfil their potential, resonated throughout the event. ARA's commitment to supporting newly arrived communities and individuals, empowering them to actively participate in all aspects of Australian life, was evident in the vibrant tapestry of cultures and experiences at the Souk.

Refugee Week this week is a fitting time to acknowledge the millions of courageous individuals worldwide who embark on perilous journeys in search of safety, freedom, and a better life. The Australian Refugee Association stands as a beacon of hope and support for these vulnerable individuals, providing a welcoming embrace and advocating for a fair and equitable society. As we celebrated Refugee Week, the Souk not only captivated our senses but also provided an opportunity to contribute to ARA's noble cause through donations and support.

For more information on stallholders and links to the day the facebook event is still accessible via:

To stay informed about future events and initiatives by the Australian Refugee Association, I encourage you to follow their Facebook page at or visit their website at .

In closing, I extend my deepest respect and gratitude to the Traditional Owners of the land, past, present, and emerging, as acknowledged by ARA. Let us all embrace the spirit of unity, diversity, and compassion exemplified by the Souk and continue to build a society where everyone can thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.

!date 18/06/2023 -- 18/06/2023
221125 - 2023-06-30 10:37:00


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