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A cultural affair: Ellsworth recognizes African American History Month

Lt. Col. Nathan Barrett, the 28th Bomb Wing director of staff, gives closing remarks during a cultural exposé at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. The Diversity Council is planning more events to spread cultural awareness among the base’s Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Lt. Col. Nathan Barrett, the 28th Bomb Wing director of staff, gives closing remarks during a cultural exposé at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. The Diversity Council is planning more events to spread cultural awareness among the base’s Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Airmen line up to sample food during a cultural exposé at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018.  The event allowed attendees to taste traditional West African cuisine and experience African culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Airmen line up to sample food during a cultural exposé at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. The event allowed attendees to taste traditional West African cuisine and experience African culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Master Sgt. Yusef Kennedy, the 28th Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight chief, and Airman 1st Class Roymeisha Simmons, a 28th Communications Squadron cyber transport technician, played the king and queen during the first scene of the African American History Month fashion show at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018.  Scene one displayed a mock West African wedding ceremony, and the rest of the fashion show displayed other traditional African outfits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Master Sgt. Yusef Kennedy, the 28th Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight chief, and Airman 1st Class Roymeisha Simmons, a 28th Communications Squadron cyber transport technician, played the king and queen during the first scene of the African American History Month fashion show at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. Scene one displayed a mock West African wedding ceremony, and the rest of the fashion show displayed other traditional African outfits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Airman 1st Class Georgette Ndamukong, a 28th Medical Group public health technician, plays the role of the princess during scene one of an African American History Month fashion show at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. Everyone greets the king and queen differently during a traditional West African wedding ceremony, and the fashion show educated participants of these African customs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Airman 1st Class Georgette Ndamukong, a 28th Medical Group public health technician, plays the role of the princess during scene one of an African American History Month fashion show at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. Everyone greets the king and queen differently during a traditional West African wedding ceremony, and the fashion show educated participants of these African customs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Master Sgt. Yusef Kennedy, the 28th Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight chief, and Staff Sgt. Adrianne Littles, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, pose in their authentic West African attire for an African American History Month event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. Models displayed the versatility of the Dashiki, an African clothing item that can be worn by men and women. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

Master Sgt. Yusef Kennedy, the 28th Medical Support Squadron medical logistics flight chief, and Staff Sgt. Adrianne Littles, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, pose in their authentic West African attire for an African American History Month event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 23, 2018. Models displayed the versatility of the Dashiki, an African clothing item that can be worn by men and women. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michella T. Stowers)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Ellsworth Air Force Base Diversity Council honored African American History Month with a celebration of culture at the deployment center on Feb. 23.

During the event, attendees were taught about African traditions through a fashion show and tastes of regional cuisine.

“I pondered a lot about what means I could use to teach others about my roots,” said Airman 1st Class Georgette Ndamukong, a 28th Medical Operations Squadron public health technician, who was born in the Republic of Cameroon, Africa. “Almost everyone admires art, and a fashion show is a form of art that can be used to convey a plethora of messages.”

The fashion show provided the audience a glimpse into the meaning behind certain West African wedding customs and traditions, head wrap styles, and the multiple meanings and purposes of the Dashiki – a traditional West African garment.

The fashion show was accompanied by a buffet of traditional African dishes, such as jellof rice, lamb pepper soup and Algerian couscous. All of the dishes were prepared by Ndamukong and other volunteers.
 

For some, the event took them home; for others, this was a unique learning opportunity.

“This is what it means to be diverse,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Barrett, the 28th Bomb Wing director of staff. “All of us should take what we’ve learned today and share it.”

Ellsworth AFB’s Diversity Council plans to continue providing the base with more opportunities to learn about different cultures and encourages all Airmen to come and share their own.


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