Rafiki hosts first ever Caribbean Carnival

By Tiffany Moore, Online Editor


Funnel cakes, a steel pan musician, and Samba dancers were some of the many attractions that got over 150 students and staff to come to Ohio Wesleyan’s (OWU) first ever Caribbean Carnival.

Rafiki Wa Africa collaborated with Black Student Union (BSU), and Black Men of the Future (BMF), to host their first Caribbean Carnival on the JAYwalk on Sept. 14.

During an interview, Oshane Tackore, vice president of BMF said, “The food was amazing, the dancers are really good, the music was really good too, I don’t set high expectations but I think it turned out great.” 

Steel pan musician Ken Greene, from Cleveland, Ohio, started off the carnival with some Caribbean beats. Daniela Black, who is originally from Trinidad and current president of Rafiki, shared how the steel pan is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago and is used in many of the songs during carnival.

Two Samba dancers from Chicago taught attendees a few Samba dances for the remainder of the Carnival. Samba is a Brazilian dance with origins in Africa. Students and faculty were able to follow along with step by step instructions given by the Samba dancers. At the end of the Carnival, students participated in the Trinidadian tradition of J’ouvert by throwing powder paint on one another.

Freshman Grace McDonald won $46.50 from the 50/50 Raffle.

“We definitely drew a crowd of different cultures. I don’t think OWU has ever had an event like this with this type of food. People really enjoyed it,” BSU president Jenelle Collier said.

Students and faculty had a chance to watch and learn about the musical culture in the Caribbean in addition to tasting food and drinks from Trinidad and Jamaica. The menu included curry chicken, jerk chicken, chicken stew with white rice and peas (rice and beans), plantains, mac’n’cheese, beef patties, funnel cakes, ginger beer, and Jarritos.

Freshman Miah Katalenas said that she heard about the Carnival through a friend and was really pleased with the food.

Black says that the purpose of having the Carnival was to expose the OWU community to a slice of Caribbean culture and cuisine.

“Caribbean people on this campus are underrepresented and this is something that has never been done on this campus and it was great to share it with a place many of us call home for four years,” Black said.