African Drumming, Dancing, Fashions, and Feasting


It’s got the food, it’s got the fashions, it’s got the camaraderie — and most of all, it’s got the dancing and drumming. Dancers and drummers from The Garvey School/Egun Omode Shule (above) will perform on Saturday, March 3, the third annual benefit for the United Front Against Riverblindness. This community-wide African Soiree will be at the Mackay Campus Center, Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton. The price is right, at $50 ($25 for students). Tickets are available at www.riverblindness.org.

Proceeds will help United Front Against Riverblindness (UFAR) to eradicate riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where approximately 21 million of the 60 million people are at risk of getting this disease, according to Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR/

A socially disruptive disease, riverblindness starts with an excruciatingly itchy rash, and when it leads to blindness, children must leave school to be full-time caregivers for family members. There is a drug for riverblindness, provided free by Merck & Co., but it is a challenge to get the drug to remote villages and ensure that every person takes the drug once a year for at least 10 years.

The evening begins at  4:30 p.m. with an African market and silent auction.  African cooks will serve their native dishes, followed by a fashion show of dresses made by a non-profit women’s organization (Femme Berceau de l’Abondance or FEBA, meaning Woman, Cradle of Abundance), located in Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Left, Krista Forbes, a senior Master of Divinity student at Princeton Theological Seminary, models one of the dresses).  

Highlighting the evening will be Garvey School’s Egun Omode (the name means children of the ancestors in Yoruba). The Garvey School is an African-centered school in Trenton; Baye Kemit is the principal.

Directed by Makeda Kemit, this troupe celebrates the traditional cultures of West Africa Mali, Guinea, Senegal, and Nigeria. Its performance at the African Soiree will be a preview of  The Journey, a May 10 and 11 festival at the New Jersey State Museum (pictured above). The Journey sounds like a fabulous event. 

Egun Omode is directed by Makeda Kemit. Many of the troupe’s performers attend The Garvey School, an African-centered school in Trenton; Baye Kemit is the principal. Foluso Mimy is the lead djembe drummer of the perfoming troupe. Mimy wowed the crowd at the two previous African Soirees, not only with his drumming, but with his winning personality. It’s going to be a warm-hearted and wonderful evening! 

 Call Princeton United Methodist Church at 609-924-2613 for information on the African Soiree or register for the African Soiree at http://www.riverblindness.org. 



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