Second Annual East African Cultural Day

Story by Anne Lutomia with contributions by Alisha Morrow

The second East African Cultural Day was held on Tuesday, 30th October, 2012 at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center. The objective of this program was to celebrate East African Culture, food, music and fashion. The events started at 9:00am and lasted until 4:00pm. Swahili Instructors and students participated in preparing and presenting various activities to the community.

The day began with an introduction to preparing East African Breakfast--Tea and African Donuts by Lydia Kiramba. 




                                             Sieving chai













East African day participants enjoying Chai

The participants then joined a panel discussion where Kristina Riedel, Joshua Mlay, Stella Laker and Anne Lutomia shared their personal experiences as Swahili learners and speakers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.  A question and answer session where policy and sociolinguistics issues in Swahili language acquisition and speaking were discussed followed. Next was the fashion show where models showcased various traditional and modern cloths that are worn in various parts of East Africa. Ashley Sheriff, the fashion show Master of Ceremony, introduced the audience to the various cloths, especially the Kanga--a colorful garment worn by women and occasionally by men throughout Eastern Africa. It is a piece of printed cotton fabric, about 1.5m by 1m, often with a border along all four sides, and a central part which usually has a saying or a message written in Swahili. One of the kangas read "Raha jipe mwenyewe," which means "give yourself happiness." A wide selection of kangas was modeled. There was even one with a photo of the recently re-elected U.S. president Barack Obama. Lastly, Philo Kabasele introduced the participants to music and some dance moves. Other activities that went on throughout the day were poster presentation displays of art (Tingatinga), cultural artifacts, fabric and various Swahili books.

Kenya Coffee Hour

The Kenya Coffee Hour took place on Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Murphy Lounge. At this informal gathering, Kenyan tea and  various dishes were served. The Coffee Hour was also an opportunity for the University community to meet the Kenyans on campus and to learn about Kenya. Wamaitha Sullivan of the School of Nursing made a presentation on Kenya and introduced the audience to the geography, history, culture, politics, and economic facts about this country.  The YMCA organizes coffee hours of various countries every Thursday from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.                                      



Wamaitha Sullivan making a presentation during the Kenya Coffee Hour




Serving and savoring Kenyan dishes