Sensing all of Africa at the African Market ECPE 2015

There is something unique about hosting an event that deals with self-identity and cultural pride. You get to see pieces of yourself and others that relate to you in dishes, song and attire.

In a quirky way, this event found a way for every person there to experience Africa with all their senses. My own experience had me utilizing all my senses to know my continent in a better light. I tasted Africa in delicate desserts courtesy of Blue Confectionery Culinary Services, their rich citrus Moroccan delicacies journeyed me into homes of Berber farmers sampling fruits of their hard labour. The Ghanaian caramalized nuts reminded me of Ghana’s most sought after mineral, its gold.  that I could only due to my allergies, gave me the aesthetics of what Ghana is well documented for in history – it’s gold.I then moved to other stalls in fear of getting whisked away by cocoa’s super powers and smelt the aromas of what could be Pilau – a traditional Kenyan spiced rice dish. The dish, bursting in sweet savory tastes of cloves and cinnamon, accessorized with small chunks of beef was a little overwhelming to my palate, probably because i had dessert before my mains – a lesson I finally understand from my elders.

I sensed Africa in nostalgic feelings of rhythmic acoustics of rubber slapping wood of marimba players to the setswana traditional dance group singing songs of various tribes in Botswana. What uniquely struck to me was a story told by Moratiwa and Kelone about a man who crossed into dangerous places to find food for his community at a time of famine. (It must be noted that it is not custom for any story to be told during the day, but gracious Kelone alerted us of this before she went on to share this fable) The story gave up gripping lessons of greed, tenacity, honesty and kindness and enlightened us on a general message we have a hard time learning in life; when seeking something of  nobility, you should be open and honest with your intentions or you might seek danger at an unquantifiable cost.

Moving into the stalls, I was greeted with warmed from a few people who believe in the need for cultural exchange and awareness of Intra-Africa relations, I spoke with Ermias Ketema, an Ethiopian citizen who came to visit and experience Botswana. We spoke at length for our need as Africa to change our own perception of each other, before he introduced me to an amazing organization known as Ebeches (Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Exchange Society) a solution of the need that we were discussing. Hopefully well see more of their work as they plan to celebrate Ethiopia’s upcoming new year in the next month.

Leaving the stalls towards the area that looks like hippie meats Black conscious minds paradise, melodies of my favourite local band harmonic angels played in the background of a peaceful and relaxed environment. Realizing how fitting the weather is for the occasion I noted something fairly interesting about this years Market day, it’s not just about stalls and food and one or two dances, it’s the values in our culture that we celebrate and take pride in. The people attending the event practiced our cultural pride unconsciously, people of all races, gender and ages greeted each other, respected elders by offering them chairs as the day went on, used flexibility and never showed anger or frustration in times of minor technical difficulties. Its more than the organizing team that held the event together, it’s the added advantage of having a platform where one could finally unapologetically be completely African.

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