Students host a celebration of Indian and Congolese culture


Culinary arts major Franceema Kamidi hosted a presentation on Congo culture on Wednesday Nov. 18 for International Education Week Photo credit: Daniel Suarez Jr.

Daniel Suarez Jr.

“This was a Congolese dance I did for my final last year,” said Franceema Kamidi who was showing a video of a traditional dance she performed for a dance course at Cerritos.

Kamidi, a Cerritos College student and culinary arts major originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, along with Hansjeet Dugaal Singh, a computer animation major from India, got to show off the arts and culture of their home countries for day three of International Education Week on Nov. 18.

Via webinar, Singh kicked off the event with his presentation, “The Culture of India – Oldest and Unique,” followed by Kamidi’s “Congo, the Vital Land” which introduced a variety of information all pertaining to the Congo and the different ways she celebrates her Congolese heritage to the students and faculty in attendance.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most linguistically diverse countries with over 200 languages,” said Kamidi, who herself speaks at least 4 languages including Langala, a Bantu originated language, and French, the official language of the DRC.

She also shared facts about great artists like Franco Luambo, a cultural music icon, and one of the many musicians who gained national recognition for their talent.

Kamidi also talked about global commodities and widespread crisis her country faces, “There is a genocide happening there and I wish more people would talk about it,” she said, referring to the thousands of those killed by rebels and armed militias, a result of a nation overcome with internal conflict for decades.

Another cause of corruption and exploitation of workers is the country’s rich deposits of a precious mineral.

“Not many people know that Congo is one of the largest producers of cobalt,” she added, “and (tech companies) need it for their phones.”

Some experts estimate that Congo produces 60% of the world’s supply. The raw mining substances, including elements like Coltan, are used to make lithium ion batteries, which are used in rechargeable smart devices.

Before concluding, she thanked the audience for attending her presentation and the webinar invited guests to the final event that took place on Thursday morning.