Food, clothes, music: Africa brings out its best in culture and heritage

Wednesday March 18 2020

Song, dance, food and fashion marked the Annual Cultural Festival at the Marist International University College in Karen, Nairobi, on October 6, 2018. The grand finale was sponsored by the Kenya Film and Classification Board. PHOTO | ANTHONY NJAGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


When African cultures converge then expect colour, exquisite fashion, different foods and serious music and dance. And those who attended the weeklong cultural activities were not disappointed.

The cultural extravaganza at Marist International University sated all appetites.

It was a display of African heritage as students from different countries brought out the best of their homeland. From the gate of the institution in Nairobi's Karen suburb there were colours from across the continent. West Africans showcased costumes, dances, instruments and foods from Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria.


It was interesting to note the Ghanian Kente gown is worn the same way as the Maasai traditional attire, with the body-length gown being held by a knot on one shoulder. The Nigerian Agbada was conspicuous for its bagginess and colourful headgear.

From East Africa, students from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan were there to represent and they also did not let the region down. Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and Madagascar were also represented.


According to Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua, who was at the event, the extravaganza is meant to unite Africa and celebrate cultural uniqueness.

There were so many kinds of the instrument showcased at the event. There were small and big drums, round and cylindrical ones, some played using the hand and others using sticks among others.

The foods were free for the guests to sample, and for the curious, there was no end to surprises in the tastes. Some were sweet, others bitter, others sour and others just the tongue could explain the tastes.

Kenya Films Classification Board sponsored the event.


Dr Mutua said African cultures are moral and value based and should not be discarded at the expense of foreign cultures. He gave the examples of Nigerian movies, which feature a lot of cultural aspects and that Cameroonians excel in music without copying the west.

“If you are to go for a serious meeting with a Nigerian or a Ghanian, they will be in their Agbadas and or Kentes. The Kenyan will be the fellow in a suit and tie,” said Mutua, adding that it is time Kenyans became proud of their culture.

Marist University principal Fr Dr Francis Verye, said: "We aim to create understanding and mould a more cohesive African continent,” said Dr Verye, who donned a Cameroonian attire.