Safari to Africa raises HIV awareness

A student organization is celebrating African culture and raising support for an HIV-affected Kenyan girl today.

The African Heritage Organization is sponsoring the girl in association with Teenage Mothers and Girls Association of Kenya.

Safari to Africa: A Journey from the Nile to Zambezi, is a fundraising event giving guests and students a taste of Africa, said Maria Muya, a senior nursing major and coordinator of the event.

“The reason we’re sponsoring the girl is to empower her,” Muya said. “As an orphan she is struggling, and AHO believes highly in educating the girl child.”

Safari to Africa is a display of different delicacies of the continent like dolma, mandazi, fried plantains and more. The event is also a display of traditional and contemporary clothes from across Africa, Muya said.

“We’ve taken traditional elements of African fashion and put it together with Western fashion,” said Eseri Lwanga, a senior French and fashion merchandising major who is displaying one of her designs in the show.

Tara De Fonseka, a sophomore accounting major from Sri Lanka and a model for the fashion show, said having lived in Ghana makes her feel close to African culture.

Songs and dance make up most of the show, Muya said. The highlights include a U.S.-based contemporary Kenyan rap group, Black Chamber, the Gumboot dance from South Africa and local singers performing traditional African songs.

Crafts from Africa will be on sale to raise money to sponsor the girl’s education, and one of the AHO members will give a presentation about HIV in Africa, Muya said.

Sylvia Ipaye, a freshman kinesiology major and one of the participants, took pride in being involved with the event.

“Just being a part of it is a contribution,” she said.

Nyembezi Moyo, a senior biology major and vice president of AHO, said the group wants the TCU community to experience elements of Africa.

“We feel proud because this is one of the biggest events of AHO,” Muya said. “We’re looking forward for TCU community to come and support our cause.”

Safari to Africa is the first in a series of events commemorating Black History Month.