The battle to transmit cultural integration is fast becoming a daily song in Verona.
In the big picture the city may be described with anything from discrimination to ‘anti immigrants’ behaviors, but beneath the surface, some tiny groups and concerned individuals are trying to rewrite the story and make the city a multicultural society that it has already become.
Last night, a part of the University of Verona was stormed by young Italians and the migrant’s students alike who are desperately hungry for cultural integration, or better still trying to learn more from what really makes the Africans hot.
The event organized by the Cameroonian student association of Verona (CSAV) was far from being a national thing. It was even out of the sheer African circle, as it fully embraced other people of various cultural backgrounds.
According to Nkenfack Prosper, one of the organizers of the activity, ‘it may have been called a Cameroonian feast, but behind it, is actually the celebration of African reach culture.
The University as a center for learning is indeed a point of “intercultural understanding”, one of the young Italian participants submitted after seeing the numerous activities, from the presentation of the day to the short display of African wears, in a semi fashion show.
The assorted African dishes were additional colors to the occasion and most of all, the African miracle, music, with a Congolese Afriradio presenter, DJ Alix.
Asking Mr. Giorgio Maria Bellini, an Italian poet, to give his assessment of the program, he outlined: “It’s certainly a positive step towards intercultural exchange in Verona, but I’m afraid the impact of this activity is limited as long as the scope is not expanded beyond the academic circle, which of course is for the privileged few.”
How could it have been done better?
“Note that we Italians do not know the individual ability of each African migrants, it therefore would have been more efficient if there were a well defined association involving migrants of various backgrounds and ready to liaise with the Italian associations in organizing events such as this…”
Ngalani Raphael is the Cameroonian president of the association. In reacting to why the event was not broader for other people to participate, he said: “Even among us Africans or migrants in general, there is a need for better understanding before going to meet other well organized associations. Of course our main target is the general public, only that with our limited resource and other logistics, we can only move one step at a time…”
Sending a message to the wider African immigrants in Italy, he added that the African migrants need to come out from their state of invisibility and confront their social situations. There might be dozens of Godly minded Italians out there who are willing to help, but the migrants must play their role too. After all, it’s him who wears the shoe that knows where it pinches him.
Ewanfoh Obehi Peter
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