Today Sunday, December 18th, is International Migrants Day.
Here at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, we aim to shed light on the many diverse motivations Irish people have had for leaving the country throughout history. It is only through creating spaces for migrant stories that we can fully begin to understand the vast spectrum of experiences, from struggle to success, that characterize migration today. Today, we honor the legacy of our Irish diaspora all over the world, as well as the valuable contributions of migrants to Irish society.
It is a beautiful coincidencethat today is also the second day we host Umoja linn’s Christmas Pop-Up, Dublin’s first-ever African-inspired Christmas market, at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum!
Umoja linn is proof that migration is a “powerful story of contribution and adaptation”. In Swahili, Umoja means ‘unity’, and linn is the Irish for ‘by us’. “The name is a celebration of our Afro-Irish roots,” founders China and Meneliswa tell Her.ie.
Born in Nigeria and South Africa, respectively, Afro-Irish entrepreneurs China and Liwsa drew inspiration from their enriching migrant experiences to create Umoja linn. Their brand aims to offer “a strong collective of African inspired creatives to share the continent’s diverse culture, art and style through a variety of ethically made pieces.”
Displaying a diverse range of designers from Togolese clothing brand Kamba Clothing, to Irish brand This Creative Fashion, Umoja linn aims to celebrate Afro-Irish values and identities while “making African fashion inclusive to all”. They are re-shaping the African narrative one item at a time while inviting the rest of the world on the ride.
Speaking with the founders, they explain that “EPIC has been changing the narrative of what it truly means to be Irish since 2016. Umoja linn presents African-inspired designers, including those of Afro-Irish descent who are part of the Ireland that EPIC will be telling stories of 50 or so years from now. This is why we chose EPIC to be our partner, the perfect location for Ireland’s first ever African-Christmas Market.”