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‘Into Africa’ World AIDS Day Dec. 1 event features poetry reading, music

November 16, 2007
ISU Marketing and Communications

Many good things come out of Africa. Like the students who arrive from many of its 54 nations to study at Idaho State University…. great creators who remind the world where we all came from…. the irresistible music that inspired jazz, soul and rock, and still inspires musicians today…. the news of communities working to solve problems like AIDS, and serve their neighbors.     

On Saturday, Dec. 1, people from all over eastern Idaho will have a special chance to travel “Into Africa” when the poet Frank Chipasula, Ph.D., will read his poetry and the Afro-beat group United Roots will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. in the ISU Rendezvous Complex Space Café. The rain site is the Bengal Café in the Pond Student Union Building. The reading and music are free and open to public. Food will also be available.

ISU’s African Students Association (ASA) arranged this free benefit event to honor global efforts to defeat AIDS. The event is co-sponsored by the Students Activities Board and Breaking Boundaries.

According to ASA president Moses Okeyo, “The Zulu maxim ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ (a person is a person through other persons) serves to show that we are all inter-connected: what affects one person in Timbuktu affects us all.  Let’s come together, eat, dance, talk, laugh, cry, and remember those affected by the AIDS pandemic.”

Chipasula, a widely-published poet and teacher from Malawi, will travel from Southern Illinois to Pocatello. His poems depict visions of exile, hope, and cries for change.  After a session with ISU’s English department, Chipasula will talk about his experiences and those of Africa. He will also present his poem, “Lament For a Teller of Tales Lost in the Season of AIDS,” which he wrote for Sony Labu Tansi, a fellow poet from Congo.

The crown of the evening will be United Roots, a group of African musicians from Boise; they will brighten the year’s end with their exciting repertoire of Afro-beat, reggae and hip-hop songs.  The band’s mission is “to bring people together while celebrating the diversity that makes humanity so beautiful.  Audiences can experience our art through a fusion of strings, drumming, chanting and dancing.”  They plan to have a dance-off, with prizes for the winners.

The audience will also be treated to some traditional African food, served at a low cost, which will feature special dishes from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana.

All contributions from this event will go to the Women’s Initiative Network, a community program led by Catherine Chipembere. WIN helps Malawi communities in their fight against AIDS, with 12 pre-schools that serve more than 1,000 AIDS orphans. WIN also conducts workshops for women’s economic empowerment, water and sanitation, reproductive health, and youth development.

The whole community is invited to help celebrate the strength, beauty, and imagination of Africa.

Contact: John Couper, (208) 226-6154 or, or Stephanie Benao,


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