By: Wazobia Staff
Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Detroit on Saturday, March 18 to enjoy African culture, music, food and more at the 15th annual “Passport to Africa” event. The theme was “The Impact of African Diversity in the World.”
An initiative of Wayne County Community College District, this yearly free event attracts people of all backgrounds to come and learn, engage in community, and enjoy themselves. The atmosphere was festive. The sounds of African drums delighted the crowd as they watched performances from Bichini Bia Congo Dance Theatre, Alkebu-Lan Village Dance Troupe, and Okasinma Cultural Dance Troupe. An African stilt-walking masquerade also danced and excited the audience, and even audience members rose to their feet to dance along to the drum beats at times.
In addition, a fashion show that featured the diverse traditional attire from every region of Africa wowed the crowd, who clapped in awe. Another segment that was a big hit at the event was the “gele,” or head wrap, tying demonstration and practice.
Attendees enjoyed authentic cuisine as part of “Taste of Africa,” which featured restaurants such as Kola Restaurant & Ultra Lounge as well as other food vendors and caterers.
The event’s marketplace included vendors selling artifacts, and other goods and wares. Even local organizations and city departments, including Detroit Police, had booths.
“The attendees’ responses were awesome,” said Ms. Bukky Eva Toby, an admin staff with the International Studies and Global Partnership Department.
In all, the event showcased an aspect of Africa that many people don’t usually have the opportunity to see.
Some of the dignitaries at the event included Dr. Salewa Olafioye, Executive Director of UACO, and Nigerian Foundation of Michigan officials including Chief Titus Amadi, President; Mr. Ben Osiah, Vice President; Prof. Kiumi, General Secretary; Mr. Dagogo, Provost; Chief Joseph Nwabueze, chairman of the board; Chief Madu, a notable community leader; and others.