LOPC Celebrates the Congo in November

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Mboyo Therese Okitukunda, a teacher who grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the featured speaker at the Nov. 4 event.

    “Celebrate the Congo” will take place Nov. 4 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette, with Congolese food, music, dance, cultural talk and fashion show.  Lunch is $7 and can be paid at the door or by calling Jim Fulford at 925-254-5419.
    “It will be a joyous occasion,” says Herb Long, Congo mission team chair at LOPC. “There will also be an opportunity to learn about conditions in the Congo today as the humanitarian conditions in the Democratic Republic remain in crisis. The Congolese people, however, have a vibrant, multi-faceted culture that we want to share with the community.”
    Mboyo Therese Okitukunda, the featured speaker, was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  She came to the United States after completing two years at the University of Kinshasa.  She earned her teaching credential at Foothill and Modesto community colleges and became an associate teacher at Early Head Start.  Her passion for education and learning led her to pursue a degree in nursing in 2014. She is a wife and mother of six children.  Topics of discussion include historical background, tribes and languages, and contributions to world civilization.
    A fashion show will be presented by Esther Nkunku, an American born designer who traces her roots from the DRC.  After completing her studies in the Congo, Nkunku returned to America to pursue further studies in fashion design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.  In 2006, she launched her clothing design business producing a combination of traditional African and western styles. She is skilled in experimental fabric-manipulation, such as pleating, appliqué, layering and gathering.
    Featured dancer, Byb Chanel Bibene, is a dance educator, choreographer and performer, working in theater and contemporary dance and has performed around the world.  He received an MFA in Dance Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College.  He founded the Mbongui Square Festival that gathers artists from the Bay Area and across the world.  In addition, he is the author of numerous poems and short works.
    “It seems most of us did not learn much about Africa in school, an important area on the world stage.  This afternoon’s presentations will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about one of its countries, the DCR,” Long says. 

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