By Stuart Fullarton
Visitors to Pas-Ka-Poo Park on Friday night were taken on a trip to Africa. Though not in the literal sense, Rimbey Municipal Library’s Cultural Café: Focus on Africa provided perhaps the next best thing.
The gathering, which saw about 70 guests enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of African culture, was part of a three-part series being put on by the library with the aim of increasing multicultural awareness in Rimbey.
“Rimbey is rather homogeneous, and the library board feels that it’s important to have multicultural awareness,” said library manager Jean Keetch. “Everybody that spoke to me (afterward) thoroughly enjoyed it.”
A group of African musicians performed a modern take on traditional African music, while food from across the continent was served.
“We had food that was from Nigeria and food that was from Sudan,” said Keetch. “There were five people at my house all day on Friday cooking African food. It was fun.”
Keetch was pleased with the positive turnout, which materialized despite less-than-ideal weather conditions present throughout the evening. A car crash on Highway 2 also threatened to put a damper on the night by delaying the band, which traveled from Edmonton for the occasion.
Yet, the event was a success in the end, and Keetch is glad that both Cultural Café sessions so far — the first of which focused on Korea — seem to have been greatly enjoyed by everyone who’s attended.
“The Korean one was more formal — they’re a more formal society, and they were on stage and people stayed and sat and watched,” said Keetch. “With the African music, people came and went, and a lot of people were dancing. It was a different kind of performance — way more casual.”
She’s hoping the third and final installment in the series will see the same level of enthusiasm and involvement from the community.
Though final details such as location have yet to be determined, that event, which will offer a look into Mexican culture, will take place on Sept. 6.