Each year, the McDaniel College Community has a chance to get in touch with African culture through the Celebrating Africa dinner organized by the Africa’s Legacy club.
Celebrating Africa began two years ago in spring 2012 with the goal of celebrating the independence of many African countries. The following fall, students decided to continue the event as a way of educating the community of McDaniel College about African culture, tradition and foods. The event has since been held during the fall semester.
“We hope that the McDaniel community learns that Africa is a very diverse continent, with many cultures, languages, belief systems and ways of life. We hope that our friends here become curious and want to learn more about the continent, or a small portion of the continent, after they get a taste at Celebrating Africa,” said Dr. Debora Johnson-Ross, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Political Science and International Studies, and also advisor of the Africa’s Legacy club.
Students, faculty, staff and even the Westminster community are invited to attend. According to Bodeshi Husen, President of Africa’s Legacy, last year’s event had a great turnout, with 170 people from the McDaniel College community in attendance. Linda Gueyong, a student that participated at the event last year, has a good memory of it.
“I really enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to taste foods that I am not used to, to listen to good music and had a good time with my friends,” said Gueyong. She also said that she is surely going to the dinner this year and that she will try to bring as many of her friends as she can.
Husen said that this year’s Celebrating Arica dinner will include African music, dance and food, and a fashion show. Plenty of performances will take place throughout the evening. This year’s dinner will feature guest performances by Mount Saint Mary University’s Pan-Africa group as well as Jollof Gang, a dance group that originated from Morgan State University. There will also be a skit that will focus on the differences between African families and American families.
There will be a trivia contest and a “dirty water challenge,” which will help collect money to be donated to a non-profit organization in Africa.
“We hope to do better this year and incorporate more activities to get the audience involved. We want to get more students to attend the dinner and hope to make it better every year,” said Husen.
“Everyone should attend this event. It is educational, informative, beautiful and fun,” said Dr. Johnson-Ross. “We will all be surprised and amazed.”
This year, Celebrating Africa will be on Dec. 3, at the Decker Center Forum, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets for the event are $10 for students and $15 for faculty and staff.