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October 25, 2016

Students Sample Dishes at Cornell’s First Annual African Night Market

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Approximately 250 students enjoyed traditional African games, food and music Saturday night in Duffield Hall at the first annual African Night Market hosted by Ghanaians at Cornell.

Dennis Nyanyo ’18, the co-president of Ghanaians at Cornell, called the event the “first of its kind,” adding that it was made possible by the large number of students who volunteered to help prepare food.

Nyanyo said members of the organization had “dreamt of this event” for a while, saying that they began planning for it at the beginning of the semester.

“This [scheduling] is mainly because most of the African events take place in the spring, and we wanted to have an event that catered to the whole community while filling this vacuum,” he said.

David Mwanjabala ’20, a member of the Zambian Community Education Initiative Club, called the event a collaboration among African organizations at Cornell that aimed to create a night that “showcased their culture and traditions.”

Several groups used the event to fundraise for various causes. Iman Ali ’18, a member of the Zambian Community Education Initiative Club, said her group was working to raise money to build a school in rural Zambia.

“We are trying to raise $2,500 for the roofing of the school by selling $10 raffle tickets and bracelets hand-made by people in Africa,” he said. “So far the fundraising has been a success, but we have a long way to go.”

In addition to the event’s charitable goals, the African Night Market exhibited a comprehensive smorgasbord of popular African dishes, including miser and injera — popular Ethiopian dishes, kelewele — a popular Ghanaian dish made with fried plantains, jollof rice — a popular West-African dish, chin chin — a Nigerian snack and chapati — Tanzanian unleavened flatbread.

“The food was really great — I had never had African food before and experiencing the various aspects of the culture was an opportunity that I’m grateful to have had,” said attendee Dristi Talukder ’20.

Nyanyo said the event was “very successful” crediting the “huge turnout” and “high amount of engagement.”

“We plan on making [the African Night Market] an annual event,” he said. “We plan on having a much bigger and better event next year.”

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