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Festival brings food, film and culture to Indy

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Experience African culture — no plane ticket required. The African Center, a local organization that supports African-born residents and their families within the metropolitan Indianapolis area, will offer the community a taste of African culture. On Saturday, Nov. 11, from 5–10 p.m. at Georgetown 14 Digital Cinemas, the community is invited to enjoy African food and film while forging new friendships at the 2017 Taste of Africa and Africana Film Festival. 

Many local African restaurants are donating food to the event, including Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant and Eko African Restaurant and Banquet Hall. Shola Ajiboye, a board member with the African center who is working to inform the greater Indianapolis community about the festival, says the food is simply a tool; the greater goal is connecting communities.

“When you want to learn more about a community and a culture, you want to learn about their food, about their languages, about their ways of life. When you shake somebody’s hand, you are basically tasting the spirit of that person,” explained Ajiboye. “There is that gap we try to bridge between our brothers and sisters from here, and we are using this opportunity to connect. There is no better way to do that than over a kitchen table.”

After dinner, attendees will have the opportunity to view African films. Ajiboye says the cultural, social and political messages intended by the films’ producers are not typically delivered to American audiences, and he would like to change that.

“When an African producer interprets their culture, it’s quite different from the way a non-African interprets those messages. Through these movies, it will let people know the African ways of life and culture as interpreted by Africans filmmakers themselves, not with others interpreting it for them.”

By the end of the night, Ajiboye hopes that stereotypes will be shattered.

“We all have pre-conceived notions about others. Some will say, ‘Why do these Africans seem to not like us?’ We want people to not just come and eat, but come and meet people, network and be ready to ask questions. This platform is great for people to talk and have conversations that are enriching and lead to community progress.”


2017 Taste of Africa & Africana Film Festival

When: Saturday, Nov. 11, 5–10 p.m.

Where: Georgetown 14 Digital

Cinemas, 3898 Lafayette Road,

Indianapolis, IN 46254

Tickets: Free, register on Eventbrite. 

For more information, visit facebook.com/AfricanCenter USA.

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