African Student Association Cooks Traditional Food to Share African Cultures


Photo by Rowena Rambeau

Yohannes Girma serves food at the Taste of Africa event.

  On March 18, the African Student Association hosted “Taste of Africa.” Over 50 students ate together to learn about African food and culture. 

  Senior biology major Shana Wright is ASA’s president and explained the ASA hosts a variety of group bonding and culture advocacy events dedicated  toward the mission of sharing African culture. Wright said Taste of Africa is the biggest event the club hosts annually, and it is a part of ASA’s ongoing effort to promote positive narratives about Africa.  

  “Our goal is to bridge the gap between all students on campus, whether you are a part of the diaspora or not, to let you know about the beauty of Africa,” Wright said. 

  Diaspora here meaning students whose ancestors were from Africa, but now live in the United States.

  Sophomore computer science major Nakaya Bratcher is the ASA membership coordinator for the ASA. She said that the event is an easy stepping stone for other students to understand another culture which isn’t their own.

  “Food is something really powerful, something people can taste, something they can enjoy,” Bratcher said. “It helps in creating a positive mindset with African culture.”

  The food was prepared by Onyinyechi Onwuka, a senior nursing student from Nigeria. She served family favorites like spicy jollof rice, a donut ball called puff-puff, spicy beef kebab called suya, spiced chicken and a fried rice dish.

  Taste of Africa isn’t the only event ASA hosts. Onwuka said the club activities can range from fun to serious depending on the day, but they focus on sharing African heritage.

  “We have talked about stereotypes, colorism, African folklore and deities. Then, our bonding activities are maybe card games or eating at Culver’s to decompress,” Onwuka said.

  Also, the club is a space for a variety of students from any background who want to learn about African culture.

  “Most people don’t want to come because they think it’s just for African Americans, but anybody can be there,” Onwuka said.

  Due to the huge size of Africa, there are a wide variety of options for what region of it to serve. One reason the ASA chose Nigerian food is that Nigerian food shares culture with Latinos, which makes the palette familiar for others Onwuka said. Additionally, the ingredients are easily found at American grocery stores.

  “If someone is excited to eat Nigerian food, I always say that isn’t even a third of what Nigerian food has to offer,” Onwuka said. “You don’t even know how much more delicious food there is.”        

  Thanks to the ASA, this event certainly gave a taste of something different about what rich culture Africa has to offer.