Willamette University Celebrates Africa Day

Willamette University students, faculty and staff will honor Black History Month by holding the school's first Africa Day Celebration Feb. 23. The Salem community is invited to eat African food, dance to live African music, shop in an African market, listen to African stories, view an African film and participate in a panel discussion on Africa today. Campus activities will run from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Festival highlights include a panel discussion about Africa in Cone Chapel in Waller Hall from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Presenters include West African medical anthropologist Louise Badiane; Mamadou Toure, an Imam at Portland's Muslim Community Center and co-host of the TV show, "Al-Islam in focus"; and Daniel Dau, one of the "lost boys of Sudan" who fled from his war-torn homeland to a refuge camp, before coming to America.

The award-winning film, “Pièces d'identités,” will be screened at 6:30 p.m. at Cat Cavern on the second floor of the University Center. The film tells the story of an old African king who goes to Brussels in search of his daughter. With twists of irony and comedy, the film explores the complicated questions of colonialism, class and cultural identity. Pièces d'identités will be introduced and discussed by Mbye Cham, a film professor from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Baba Wagué, a storyteller from Mali, will share his stories from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Goudy Commons. Anansi Beat, from Ghana, will perform from 4 to 6 p.m. in Cat Cavern. African food will be available for purchase at 11:30 a.m. in Goudy Commons.

The celebration marks Willamette University's growing interest in the continent of Africa. All events are free and open to the public. For more information call Amadou Fofana at 503-370-6298 or Joyce Millen at 503-370-6593.