Breckenridge Texan

Safari Program brings the drumbeat of Africa to Breckenridge

Safari Program brings the drumbeat of Africa to Breckenridge
August 15
12:43 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The drums of Africa echoed around the Breckenridge Library last Wednesday, Aug. 11, as Elizabeth Kahura presented her Safari Program for the kids, parents and grandparents gathered for the event.

Part of Elizabeth Kahura’s Safari Program at the Breckenridge Library included a bit of African geography. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Kahura was born and raised in Kenya, which is located on Africa’s east coast, and now lives in Hutto, Texas, northeast of Austin. She is a storyteller, performer and teacher, and her presentation covered many of the countries and cultures of the African continent.

“What I do now, I go around all over Texas to teach children, and of course, visiting libraries or different learning institutions, talking about Africa, just to bring a little Africa, a little bit of safari, to you,” she said. “For those people who have never gone on a safari, they can come on safari with me. And then maybe I’ll convince you guys so that one day you’ll take a safari.”

Using maps and photographs, Kahura introduced the audience to the regions, people, food and animals of Africa. As she talked, Kahura often compared Africa to Texas, explaining how many of the foods are similar and teaching the attendees some words in Swahili.

Once she finished the informational part of the program, Kahura moved on to what she called the fun part: the music.

Kahura brought with her a variety of musical instruments, most of which were drums and other percussion instruments, and handed them out to the kids and a few adults in the audience. Then, she invited the kids to join her in front of the group and play along while they sang a couple of songs.

Caleb Windsor, 8, helped Elizabeth Kahura tell the story of Baba and Jamari. To see more photos from the event, click here. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

One part of the program involved a story about an African village and Baba, whose job it was to play the drum every day, and Jamari, the young boy who took over the job from Baba. According to the tale, Jamari gets distracted by other things in his life and fails to play the drum every day, leading to trouble for the village. Once he realizes the problem, Jamari returns to the drumming and saves the village. Caleb Windsor, 8, helped Kahura tell the story by acting out the part of Jamari.

“This is just a little story that teaches us the importance of keeping good traditions,” Kahura said, talking with the audience about the various traditions in the United States, including Thanksgiving. “Oh, that’s my favorite. I think I adopted Thanksgiving,” she said. “We don’t have Thanksgiving in Africa, but I love Thanksgiving because I love to eat that hot pie and that big ol’ turkey leg, right? Yeah, that’s a tradition that’s a unique American tradition. … Keep good traditions, because those traditions make us who we are.”

For another interactive part of the program, Kahura had the entire audience on their feet, learning a traditional African dance.

She wrapped up the program with a poem called “The Power to Dream,” which she punctuated with more drumming.

After her presentation, Kahura talked with the kids and let them look over some of the African items she brought with her.

Kahura’s program is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Click here to see more photos from the Safari Program featured in the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Elizabeth Kahura had the entire audience on their feet, learning an African dance, at the Breckenridge Library last week. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Elizabeth Kahura uses African drums and other percussion instruments, as well as audience participation, in her Safari Program, which she presents all over Texas. She was at the Breckenridge Library on Wednesday, Aug. 11. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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