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Africa Day draws diverse crowd

March 29, 2014 Updated: March 29, 2014 at 6:58 pm
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photo - Lykkefry Bonde dances in a dance circle to the music of Sante Fe, N.M., band Jaka during the Africa Day at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. The event featured music, dancing, food and displays  in a celebration of the African culture.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Lykkefry Bonde dances in a dance circle to the music of Sante Fe, N.M., band Jaka during the Africa Day at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. The event featured music, dancing, food and displays in a celebration of the African culture. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

First the food came, things like beet root with chili bean and curry from South Africa.

Then the drums thrummed and dancers' bodies writhed in traditional dance.

There was bright, traditional garb everywhere, lots of bare feet and decorated faces. In this way, Africa came to Colorado College on Saturday.

The event, at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, was the first of what organizer Diara Dia hopes will be many years of cultural celebration.

Dia, who is from Senegal, is CC's cultural program coordinator.

"We hope this starts a trend on campus," said Leandro Montes, a CC freshman from Uruguay who helped Dia with the one-day affair.

At least 70 had shown up at the celebration by 2 p.m., some dressed in traditional garb of their countries, many with dots around their eyes - worn for more formal gatherings in Africa, said one girl who wore the face decoration.

Africa Day included food tasting, African tales, drumming, dancing, a fashion show and a talk about some famous Africans.

It was educational, said Lawrene Weaver, who was there with her 6-year-old grandson, Keyati.

The idea, she said, was to "show him about different cultures."

"What is Africa?" she asked Keyati.

"A state," he answered first.

Then, prompted by his grandmother: "a country."

Keyati is well-traveled.

He's been to Cambodia, Malaysia and Tokyo, in part because his grandparents are missionaries.

"I like when they have cool stuff," Keyati said of the celebration.

There were also exhibits from African nations such as Senegal, Kenya, Libya, and Zimbabwe.

At the Zimbabwe exhibit, people learned that "Shamwari," in the Shona language from northern Zimbabwe, means "friend."

From Kenya, there were purses and jewelry.

Flags hung from the catwalks above the auditorium.

"Basically it is to promote and show people the diversity we have here on campus," Montes said. "We have people from all over the world, and we should take pride in that difference."

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