Members of the African Student Organization wanted to make sure Taste of Africa wasn’t just about food.
ASO hosted its annual Taste of Africa event at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 in the JW Jones Student Union Ballroom. The event made a comeback after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s event had to be modified slightly for COVID-19 mitigation, such as having limited and spaced seats, and having take-out containers for food.
The event included African food as well as a dance performance, a fashion show and some short speeches by some members of the organization and others.
“It was a great way for others to learn about our cultures and also for African students to express themselves,” said ASO President Ayomide Popoola.
Popoola said the event has been scheduled since last semester and the Student Senate has awarded $ 1,500 to help fund it.
Popoola was unsure why the Student Senate awarded the money, but said she was grateful for it.
Tekle Wanorie, Associate Professor at the School of Business, explained at the event that there are many misconceptions about Africa and that it is a vast and constantly growing continent, rich in diversity. .
Wanorie brought up the misconceptions that non-Africans have on the continent and used humor and jokes to convey this message to the public.
“Beautiful things exist in Africa; I want you to be aware of this, ”Wanorie said.
Another speaker was junior Luundo Fataki, who spoke about his experience growing up in Africa. As a child, Fataki traveled through many African countries and grew up in refugee camps.
Although he moved around a lot, Fataki learned many different languages and continued to have positive experiences as a student in the United States.
“I don’t know much about these places because I was so young, but I want to keep learning more about the countries I’ve been to too,” Fataki said.
At the end of the event, the ASO served food in take-out containers for participants to take with them. Among the dishes on offer were chicken, different kinds of rice and plantains.
The food came from a restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, Fannie’s African and Tropical Cuisine. Popoola said they looked for food from other African restaurants first, but many were either closed or not taking charge.
“We wanted it to be more authentic and closer to home, so we went with her again,” Popoola said.
Popoola said the event had been the subject of a lot of planning, as she wanted to combine Taste of Africa with the message that Africa is a continent with many countries to show culture.
Popoola also wanted to make known more widely that there is an African community in the North West, even if it is small.
“We don’t have big signs that we are African, but we are here and this is our culture,” Popoola said.