A cultural event featuring Eritrean and Ethiopian dances, spoken word and poetry, and authentic African and Caribbean cuisine are coming to campus for the 9th annual African Caribbean Culture Club Night Dinner. The theme this year is We are Kings and Queens of Our Destiny: Our Legacy Written in Stone.

The March 3 event in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room is brought to campus by the African Caribbean Club and the Ethnic Student Center. It is a semi-formal event open to anyone who wants to learn about the aspects of African and Caribbean culture. Traditional African or Caribbean attire is encouraged.

“We want people to experience a bit of African experience outside of what you see on TV, outside of what is stereotypically seen,” said Sara Woldenmichael, African Caribbean Club group member. “That it’s a place of different colors and expressions”

Club President of the African Caribbean Club Marta Kidane said the event helps lessen stereotypes about different cultures.

“It’s a learning experience for other people because a lot of people have misconceptions and pre-judgments about other continents, particularly Africa,” said Kidane. “So we are using this event as a platform to show people otherwise.”

The African Caribbean Club brings together African and Caribbean students and provides an opportunity to learn more about the cultural traditions of these regions.

The theme of the cultural night, We are Kings and Queens of Our Destiny: Our Legacy Written in Stone, resulted from a discussion during one of the African Caribbean Club weekly meetings.
Keynote speaker Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde, a New York artist from Nigeria, will perform poetry and dramatized spoken word.
Her presentation will focus on a person’s purpose in life.

For the event, club members will perform in two dances, an Eritrean and Ethiopian dance. There will also be a Caribbean performance, and a Liberian music and mask performance from Village Drum and Masquerade coming of Seattle.

While enjoying the various presentations throughout the night, the audience can experience the flavors of the Caribbean with food provided by Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen and spicy tastes from Eritrea provided by Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine in Seattle.

Seating will begin around 5:30 p.m. with the actual event starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until 9:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $12 for Western students and $15 for general admission, are available at the Performing Arts Center box office and online at tickets.wwu.edu.

As mentioned, by Kidane and Woldenmichael, the event is a learning experience. It will give students and community members a chance to see something new and aspects of Caribbean and African life not normally represented.

We’re trying to embrace our people as we are Kings and Queens,” said Tecle. “Everyone thinks that to be a King or Queen you need to have a lot of wealth. But you can be a King or Queen in your own way. Having a purpose of life doesn’t have to be to follow rules; it’s to stand up on your own two feet.”