New group invites African students to come together

By By Lis Narciso

By Lis Narciso

One U professor and the owner of the African Restaurant have helped found a new organization designed to unite Africans living in the community.

Harambe Africa, a Swahili term for “Africa Together,” held its inaugural meeting Sunday, Feb. 20 at the African Restaurant to gather its members and listen to their suggestions and opinions.

“We stress for and hope for connection between Africans as a whole including students, families, and immigrants,” said Byron Cannon, co-founder and Middle Eastern and African studies professor at the U.

Cannon also said Harambe hopes to gain an understanding of Africans in relation to other Americans and a feeling of common identity within America.

“We need to bring everyone together with something common and simple,” agreed Rundassa Eshete, co-founder and African Restaurant owner.

Eshete also suggested that everyone in attendance write about how his or her life was before coming to America, as a way of finding out what everyone has in common.

“Give impressions of your own culture through the stories you know,” he said. “Rejecting your own culture is being embarrassed of what you are.”

Many Africans from all parts of Utah showed up to take part in the meeting.

“We are all from different countries and speak different languages. But we are a generation and we need to be united. We need to be one country. That’s why I hope this organization will do well,” said John Thipek, a student from Sudan.

Cannon, who previously taught at a school in Senegal, decided to start a cultural organization after talking about his experience on the radio show “Jambo Africa” on KRCL.

“The group is initially small, but growing,” Cannon said.

The association hopes to plan more activities in the future, including cultural dancing, singing and a film series.

Cannon said he aims to bring these activities to locations around Utah, including the U and hopes to possibly start a student organization. The association invites all “freedom-loving individuals” to join.

For more information, e-mail Harambe at [email protected].

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