VOICES FROM AFRICA
.Thomas Adeetuk
2. The African community in Madison beyond facing the challenges already enumerated above, also has to deal with the following organizational and civic issues.
The African community needs to deal with problems of organizing ourselves into a cohesive group that is well supported by all its members. Some Africans prefer to
hold more allegiance to individual country organizations rather than AAM. This makes it extremely difficult for AAM leadership to strategize and represent the African
community well. With a lack of effective representation in AAM, it is harder for members with individual, professional or social problems to get effective help from
our organization. The African community can be most effective in fighting for social justice if we are effectively linked with other minority or immigrant communities
in the city but I do not see that connection really well established yet.
3. First generation Africans born in America face two main challenges African immigrants didn’t face. The first is Africans born in America do not have a lot of
knowledge of their African culture and how to embrace it. Because of this, they are confused as to how to best adjust to their American culture they have been born
into and the African culture their parents try to teach them and expect them to adopt to. These two cultures teach different value systems and the children caught in
the middle often have a hard time adjusting. They want to be the obedient or respectful African kids and yet their American friends expect them to behave or act
differently.
If an African born in America does not follow their traditional African culture of respect for seniors and hard work, they lose their parents trust and sometimes
support. On the other hand, if they follow blindly their American friends’ attitude and life styles, many end up in trouble and sometimes end up breaking away from
their African parents. This often has tragic consequences for both the immigrant kids and the community.    
4. AAM, the African Wommen’s Association (AWA) and the country organizations play pivotal roles in the lives of many members. To many members, these are the
only groups/organizations that really connect them with their roots. Sometimes, these are the first or only groups members turn to when they experience difficulties.
For example, when a member runs into problems in their lives (loss of a relative, trouble with the law, or loss of a job), members find it more comforting to seek
refuge with these groups. AAM or AWA will empathize with such members and seek answers to their problems or if they do not have those answers themselves
would lead them to where help is available.  
5. Africa Fest is the best uniting force so far for most Africans in Madison. It is the event every member never wants to miss because it is where they are able to
unite and commiserate with fellow Africans, some of whom they never see unless at this festival. Many hold pride in being able to display their cultural
achievements through dance or other performances that showcases their authentic culture from their home countries.
To the broader Madison Community, Africa fest serves two main purposes for AAM. The first is Africans use this community event to share our cultures with the
world/Madison community. We use this event to teach the rest of our Madison neighbors what true African culture is. People get to taste authentic food, see and
purchase if they desire authentic African artifacts and cultural items of value like clothing, wall hangings/tapestries, etc.   
Second, AAM seeks to bring together our own African community which is so dynamic yet forced into living separate individual lives without a sense of communal
life as we know it in Africa. This is the only day when are truly blessed to mingle and break bread as a family. On this day, there are no more country groups, but
Africans as a family.    
6. Africa Fest brings out the spirit of oneness in Africans in Madison. Everyone shows pride in their African culture and the parade of nations is always such a
delight to watch. Even we Africans ourselves learn something new from each other every time we meet at Africa Fest.
7. This is a very difficult and sensitive subject to tackle, but let me try my take on it. Initiatives needed to take place in order to improve race relations may be
simple, but are often hard to accept. First let all races recognize/accept that we are all humans and equal. Let all races recognize that all other people different from
their own race need space so that all can co-exist. Three, there should be equal justice for all.
Let us try these few initiatives. Let us begin talking to each other rather than talking over each other. Let us have organized town hall meetings where all races lay
out their grievances without immediate debate. Let us take these grievances home and then discuss amongst our own families and friends first to appreciate each
other’s grievances. Let all of the different racial groups select a few leaders to lead them in negotiating their grievances with other races. Let minority races
collectively discuss their grievances together so that they are able make a joint presentation of their grievances to the dominant groups for reconciliation. Let the
governor select a race relations task force that can then take these grievances and the discussions from them and study them carefully before making
recommendations for how to effectively implement any resolutions that can heal the community.  
Questions
1.  What challenges does the African immigrant face in the Madison area?
2.   What challenges does the African community face in the Madison area?
3. Are there different challenges for the first-generation Africans born in
America that African immigrants didn’t face? Why or why not?:
4.  What roles do organizations like AAM, AWA and the country organizations
play in the lives of members of the African community
5.  What roles does Africa Fest play in African community life and the larger
Madison-area community?
6.  What is your favorite part of Africa Fest?
7.  What initiatives will need to take place in order to improve race relations
and ultimately eliminate racial injustices?  
In the spirit of Africa Fest, which has been canceled due to COVID-19 this
year, The Capital City Hues asked a sampling of African community leaders
about the importance of Africa Fest and issues facing the greater Madison
African community.
Thomas Adeetuk
Thomas Adeetuk was born in Ghana, West Africa. He is a staff member of the General Library System at UW-
Madison. He is also a board member of the African Association of Madison (AAM) and the chair of its education
and scholarship committee.

1. The challenges the African immigrant faces in Madison are complex, many and unfortunately vary by the
immigrant’s upbringing and socio-economic environment they immigrated from.  
Let me address these now from a general perspective. Like all other immigrants, African immigrants face
racism, but individual experiences vary. Some face racism in job discrimination, police brutalities or treatment
and unequal access to social services and educational opportunities. For immigrants coming to Madison with
some good level of education, their frustration is with not being accepted or recognized for their level of
education and having to always prove themselves to be accepted into positions they deserve or are
sometimes over qualified for. For some with a little lower educational qualifications, the task of even relating
to Americans is even harder and they are reduced to accepting only menial jobs.
Godwin Amegashie
Godwin Amegashie
Godwin Amegashie is from Liberia in West Africa. He serves on the WWBIC Advisory Board of South-
Central Wisconsin, is a member of the Dane County CDBG Commission and of the Housing Advisory
Committee in Fitchburg. He is also on the Executive Committee of “A Greater Madison Vision” of the
Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC). Amegashie is a founding member of the African
Association of Madison and have served as president and chairman of the board. He currently serves
on the executive board of ACCD (African Center for Community Development).
1. I would think that the most pressing challenge is obtaining the right immigration status so as not to
be harassed. It is possible that people may move from place to place because of immigration status.
The lack of proper status can affect the kind of jobs people might seek despite their qualifications. A
second challenge is the inability to bring their families. Generally, immigrants come in first, settle and
then try to bring their families.
Police racial harassments are based on racial stereotypes, not on accent or name. Madison is a “white
color” town in terms of jobs. It does not have a large manufacturing base. Their challenges are
obviously to seek the training and skills needed in the Madison labor market.
2. In addition to the challenges included in my response to question 3, there seems to be a
generalization that all “Black” people are the same. Despite our linkages based on race, cultural differences, speech tones and accents affect how individuals are
perceived.
African immigrants are lumped together with Americans of African descent without understanding that there are differences
3. First generation Africans born in America are as American as “apple pie.”  Their reference points unlike those of their parents are right here in America. Their
greatest challenge however is to navigate the outside as “Americans” and then live on the “inside” as Africans. There are obvious cultural conflicts. Many of the
first-generation African immigrants came to the US for education. Subsequently, they became part of the American mosaic. They were, however, schooled and
seasoned with their culture and practices. For them, that upbringing is the essence of their being.
4. Africans societies are very social. They are built on interaction and are communally based.
Immigrating to a new community is not a simple thing. Loneliness alone will send one to the asylum. These organizations provide the environment that ensures not
only their sanity but also the sense of “belonging”. It is a cardinal African norm.
Through these organizations, people re-affirm their cultures, beliefs, food and languages for some. It is where they celebrate their being, especially through dance
and food. It is where they re-juvenate themselves.
5. We created Africa Fest because of the scarcity of knowledge about Africa in the Madison community. I recall the year I served as the chair for the festival at the
Monona Terrace, our theme was “Africa is not a  country…” Through Africa Fest, members of the African community educate their fellow citizens in Madison
and
and neighboring communities. There are 54 countries in the continent of
Africa. There are varying cultures, dance, food etc. in all of them. The
reception and knowledge of attendees over the years have been
phenomenal. Many of the attendees now know names of countries
including that there are 54 different flags!
6.  My favorite part of Africa Fest is the dance performance of WADOMA
(West African Dancers of Madison). This is a dance troop comprised
mainly of white women who perform and dance music from the
Senegambia region of West Africa. Their performance is as good as one
you would see in Senegal, The Gambia or any area in the Sahel. I see
them appreciating African culture through dance.
7. I strongly believe that the best initiative is KNOWLEDGE. This is why it
is imperative to support activities like Africa Fest where there is face to
face knowledge transfer between peoples.
The key to race relations is also knowledge. Every ethnic community
has played a role in the growth and development of the United States.
We need to acknowledge it. For the level of development that the U.S.
has attained, it could never have been done without recognizing that
forced labor from Africa was essential. If it could have been done alone,
there would have been no need for the Slave Trade.
In economics, the factors of production include capital, technology and
labor. The labor of Americans of African descent who were enslaved in
their journey to America contributed to America’s development. Many
major public buildings were constructed by such labor free of charge. In
fact, several states in the U.S. South were booming economically as
they exported cotton to mills in England. There is no evidence of the
labor costs paid to those who planted and harvested the product. Many
Americans of African descent have been in these United States for more
than 400 years. Today, there are those who are fanning racism and their
descendants have been here as recent as the 1800s.
Let’s face it: each entity in the American mosaic or quilt added to its
growth. Let’s start from that truth and the facts.
Chinese immigrant laborers built the rail lines.  Italian immigrants
constructed major iconic buildings. Native Americans saved our
founding fathers from starvation by sharing their meager meal from their
farms with them. In all, understanding that every group added to the U.S.
as we know it, is the basis of the creating a culture of respect. That
culture is necessary in order to improve race relations.  
With a culture of respect, we are in a position to acknowledge each
other and share our common values. True justice is based on the
commonality of our values.
If there is something we need to think about as we face the Covid-19
epidemic, it is the interesting recognition that has been made today on
those we looked down upon for years —janitors, drivers, as “essential
workers”.
In the last four years, our community has lost two young souls to gun violence. These young, vibrant members of our community were Fatoumata Jallow (23 yrs.)
and Demba Jammeh (18 yrs.). Their lives have been cut short senselessly. Fatoumata was murdered at work by her coworker. The motive remains a mystery.
Demba was murdered less than two months ago by another young man while out in the community. Both Fatoumata and Demba are from the Gambia.
Their tragic and untimely deaths devastated our community and left a huge void. These incidents are undoubtedly unfamiliar territory for our community; thus, we are
scrambling to figure out how we can prevent such acts from recurring. This is every parent’s nightmare and definitely the biggest challenge our community has had
to face in the Madison area now.
3) Yes, there are different challenges being faced by African immigrants and Africans born in America. As an African immigrant, our first challenge is to work
through the maze of the immigration process to settle in. Then, one has to try to find ways of integrating into the community, new culture, acclimating to the weather,
and new ways of life. These processes take time and can induce insurmountable stress. The language barrier is another challenge. Even if you understand and
spoke English before migrating to America, some still struggle with language because American English somehow sounds different; at least that was my
experience. African immigrants strive to gain high education. It is a process that is seemingly difficult as we navigate our full-time, low-wage work and raise
immediate families while also trying to support extended families back at our home countries financially. Our successes truly come with very hard work and
overcoming many challenges along the way!
Our children are caught between the two cultures. I’m sure this is challenging for our children. They have to participate fully and understand both worlds. This is
necessary for them to have a sense of belonging. While this can be challenging, it also strengthens them to build resilience in a unique way. The values their parent
instilled in them make them stand out among their peers. What seems like normal children activities such as sleepovers may not be allowed in immigrant
households, and I believe it may be hard for children to understand why they are not allowed to participate like their peers. However, as they grow up to be
responsible adults, they later appreciate their parent's point of view with strict household rules. For African Muslim immigrants like me, educating our children
about our religion here in America is also a daunting process that involves our children not having a day off to themselves. They have to attend weekend religious
classes and not attend sporting activities if it conflicts with the school schedule. That, too, must be challenging for them, but I believe the resilience that they
acquire in the process empowers them and shapes their lives for the better. There is a high pressure on children of immigrants to especially do well in school and
all aspects of their lives. Children of immigrants also face significant amounts of bullying at school due to their heritage, name, or how well they carry themselves.
Unfortunately, in the process of conforming to a foreign culture and language, many children of immigrants struggle to learn and maintain the dialect spoken to them
by their parents.
4) The role of the African Association of Madison, the African Women Association, and others like Senegambia Women Association are like a larger family unit that
serve as a resource, support, and comfort whenever needed. As immigrants, it is imperative we create and or belong to a circle that provides guidance, support,
and, most importantly, that understands our personal, professional, and emotional needs. These organizations owe that to their members and community at large.
Both AAM and Senegambia Women Association give annual scholarships to high school graduates from our community. AWA also gives back to the community
through volunteerism, such as assisting in fundraising drives at Wisconsin Public Television. These organizations also engage in member education about issues
of importance to us. We invite experts within or outside the organization to discuss things like self-care, women's health, economic security, energy saving issues
and opportunity, and a lot more.
5) Africa Fest is an opportunity for the African community to pridefully showcase our beautifully rich culture to the rest of the Wisconsin community. The festival is an
opportunity for creating larger community awareness. It also provides a trip to the continent for free with less travel time and many cultures to experience. There is
Fatou Ceesay
Fatou Ceesay
Fatou Ceesay is from The Gambia. She is a senior care specialist and the owner and manager at Cairasu
Home Care. Our focus is to assist the elderly to stay in their homes for as long as possible while promoting
independence and wellbeing. Ceesay is the founding member of the Senegambia Women Association and a
member of both AAM and AWA. She served in leadership roles within AWA as co-president in 2016 and
served on AAM’s special event committee for several years. In her role at the Senegambia Women
Association, she served on the executive board and helped in the growth and development of programs
along with other colleagues. She also collaborates with other community organizations and strategically
connects the African Association with them.
2) As a community, we lack the physical space such as a community center that will offer programming for
immigrants and others interested in the various cultures of Africa. Programs such as childcare, tutoring,
mentoring, recreational activities, and cultural, educational activities are needed in our community. Such
space would serve as a safe haven for families and youth. It can also serve as a meeting and event space
of which there is a great need.
much to see from our Africa Tent to a marketplace filled
with a display of our
beautiful African fabrics, jewelry, food
tents, all-day live bands and most of all our wonderful,
brilliant welcoming and kind African community members
banding together and becoming their country's
ambassadors to people (Wisconsin community) making a
day trip to Africa. I love walking with friends showing them
around the different tents, its products, and our beautiful
kind people dressed in our amazingly colorful fabric. It’s a
day of pride, showing off our continent and all of its
amazing gifts. I love Africa Fest.
6) Everything about Africa Fest is amazing to me, and I love
it all around. My absolute favorite is the evening live show
when all people come together with great energy dancing
in the open park and having the most wonderful time. It
shows we all are one despite our differences in color,
geographical heritage, and religious background, and that
gives me great joy.
7) Prioritizing to improve and provide affordable
educational opportunities for people of color. We must
invest in housing and provide affordable and quality
housing for people of color. We must invest in and support
minority businesses to improve their economic status. We
must provide job opportunities with decent wages, to
people color, and invest in skill training for our community
as well. We must invest in the community’s foundation
doing work to improve racial equality. We must provide
mentorship and guidance to youth from minority
backgrounds. We must build a more inclusive personal,
professional, and community relationship. Open your doors
and allow people from other races to get to know you.
Sometimes, just getting to know people, their culture, etc.,
can shift others' perspectives of not just that individual but
also that community as a whole. Individuals and groups
from minority backgrounds are the ones being oppressed
and find it hard to fit in. Therefore, it is white people who
need to reach out more to people from minority groups to
initiate relationships. White people need to intentionally
have a full dose of empathy toward people from minority
groups. For centuries, our communities endured
oppression from white people and systems they designed
to fit only for them, leaving the rest behind. That needs to
stop in order to improve race relations. We must increase
diversity at all levels of government, in corporations and
community organizations of all sizes to improve race
relations. We must address systemic racism that continues
to oppress people of color and we must amend the criminal
justice system. The society as a whole has to be willing
and have intentional desire to learn about people from
other races and exercise tolerance where there are
differences. We must understand that our commonalities
outweigh our difference.
Agnes Dako
higher degree, and work hard to live up to their parents’ expectations and make them proud.
The weight on the shoulders of direct African immigrants is different from that of the first-generation Africans in America. Direct immigrants migrate mostly with their
own agenda. They come for continuing education and economic stability to provide for their immediate family (either with them here in America or in Africa) and for
their extended family in Africa.
4. The purpose of these associations is to unite people of African descent and friends of Africa in the Madison area. AWA initiates constructive activities including
discussions, teachings, and education to develop and empower immigrant African woman. AAM, in conjunction with the country organizations, promotes programs
for youth in education, development and social interaction, needs assessment, and guides to resources for the African
immigrant. It creates cooperative
Agnes Dako
Agnes Dako is from Ghana, the Eastern Region. She is a healthcare provider and a former vice-
president of GHAMA, The Hana Association of Madison.
1. Most African immigrants face language barriers and culture shock. We grow up learning English
coupled with our native language(s) — our parents often speak different and multiple languages. This
influences our pronunciation of words, and we find ourselves repeating what we have said to be
understood in conversations. Also, there is culture shock, especially in terms of conduct. We often
construe behaviors that are common in America as rebellious against behaviors that are deeply
instilled in most African immigrants, such as being respectful, solicitous, and polite.
2. I believe the African community is financially challenged. To achieve its mission and purpose, it
needs members and community-oriented businesses to support it.
3. First-generation Africans grow up in conflicting cultures and face problems of adaptation and national
identity. There is a constant feeling of weight on their shoulders, a pressure to please their parents
because they gave up everything to come to America so that their children could experience the
‘American dream.’ These children have a duty to perform; they are expected to go to school, attain a
4. The purpose of these associations is to unite people of African descent and
friends of Africa in the Madison area. AWA initiates constructive activities
including discussions, teachings, and education to develop and empower
immigrant African woman. AAM, in conjunction with the country organizations,
promotes programs for youth in education, development and social interaction,
needs assessment, and guides to resources for the African immigrant. It
creates cooperative relationships with institutions, groups, and individuals who
share a common concern for the community.
5. The mission of Africa Fest is to promote and preserve the understanding of
African culture and heritage and unite diverse ethnic and racial groups of the
African community. The festival educates African children about their rich
cultural heritage and showcases to the community the kaleidoscope of African
cultures and values through dance, music, art, and food. It creates an annual
community event that celebrates African culture that has tourist and commercial
potential for Dane County. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for the African
Association of Madison to support its programs.
6. My favorite part of the festival, as an African immigrant, is the various
countries representing their unique, rich culture in music, dance, and drama
performances.
7. “A vigorous enforcement of civil rights will bring an end to segregated public
facilities, but it cannot bring an end to fears, prejudice, pride, and irrationality,
which are the barriers to a truly integrated society.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1967)
To ultimately eliminate racial injustices could take years of work, however, to
improve race relations and racial injustices, some policies and laws would
have to be re-examined. To address the situation, we need a process whereby
law enforcement and the community engage in joint communication, research,
and devotion to practical change to promote the mutual trust vital for effective
public safety collaboration. This could be achieved in part by taking
responsibility for harmful acts, listening, sharing histories, and changing policy.
relationships with institutions, groups, and individuals who share a common
concern for the community.
5. The mission of Africa Fest is to promote and preserve the understanding of
African culture and heritage and unite diverse ethnic and racial groups of the
African community. The festival educates African children about their rich
cultural heritage and showcases to the community the kaleidoscope of African
cultures and values through dance, music, art, and food. It creates an annual
community event that celebrates African culture that has tourist and commercial
potential for Dane County. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for the African
Association of Madison to support its programs.
6. My favorite part of the festival, as an African immigrant, is the various
countries representing their unique, rich culture in music, dance, and drama
performances.
7. “A vigorous enforcement of civil rights will bring an end to segregated public
facilities, but it cannot bring an end to fears, prejudice, pride, and irrationality,
which are the barriers to a truly integrated society.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1967)
To ultimately eliminate racial injustices could take years of work, however, to
improve race relations and racial injustices, some policies and laws would
have to be re-examined. To address the situation, we need a process whereby
law enforcement and the community engage in joint communication, research,
and devotion to practical change to promote the mutual trust vital for effective
public safety collaboration. This could be achieved in part by taking
responsibility for harmful acts, listening, sharing histories, and changing policy.
Ray Kumapayi
prevail upon them unfairly as an African American. On the other hand, African immigrants, due to their formative upbringing in Africa, and in some cases their
maturity, are more reserved in their social outlook, but must learn to navigate through similar challenges during their acculturation.
In addition, our first-generation must struggle to maintain their African heritage as well as their American identity within the society. This could be very challenging
for a first-generation African youth whereas the African immigrant has mainly the African identity to maintain.
4. AAM is an umbrella organization for all African country organizations whereby the country organizations may come together to develop common goals, discuss
inter-personal issues and engage in collaborative efforts for the betterment of all. Country organizations provide a closer sense of community to its membership
where intra-personal issues/information may be shared for a resolution or knowledge-gain respectively.
5. Africa Fest showcases traditions and cultures inherent in Africa to its vast audience from Greater Madison in particular, and Wisconsin in general with extension
to neighboring states. The major purpose for Africa Fest is three-fold. First, it helps African immigrants to maintain and safeguard their African traditions and
cultures. African immigrants derive cross-knowledge of traditions and cultures inherent in other African nations at Africa Fest. Second, it is an opportunity to pass
on African cultures and traditions to younger Africans, especially our first-generation Africans and also African Americans — for them to observe and learn of their
African values and heritages. And third, Africa Fest is an opportunity to provide enlightenment and education of African cultures and traditions to the vast audience
who are not of African descent or ancestry.  This lends to an increased understanding between Africans and their American neighbors in the diverse society.
6. All parts of Africa Fest blend into one favorite: the on-stage performances from our local groups; the arts and crafts vendor displays; the Taste of Africa; the
African Hut; the Parade of Nations; and of course, Strides For Africa in which the 5k run/walk registration fees provides funding for construction of drinkable water
wells in rural Africa.
7. Immediately eliminate choke-holds or any other arresting techniques by police officers that would debar a person under arrest from free breathing. Choking
anyone in any manner should be unlawful; we don’t choke animals to death, then why would we choke a human being?
*Disavow the notion of a “bad apple” in our police force who have otherwise sworn to serve and protect. A human life is worth too much to waive it off as an action
of a bad apple. We cannot afford a bad apple in the police force just as we cannot afford a “bad apple” pilot or doctor.
*Allow police officers to judge/advise each other during the arrest process to ensure policy/guidelines for an arrest is being carried out judiciously.
Institute an emphasis in diversity training for our police officers.
*Re-direct funding for our police departments; more funding should be geared toward arrest-training, re-trainings, psychological evaluations on a routine basis, to
weed out unsuitable officers.
*Our education institutions should increase diversity programs locally, statewide, nation-wide and in school curriculums to encourage a better understanding of
each other and to discourage racism.
*Our local governments should campaign to denounce all forms of discrimination and direct efforts at improving race relations on a continuous basis.
Ray Kumapayi
Ray Kumapayi is from Nigeria, West Africa. He is chief engineer, WisDOT Surveying & Mapping
Section. He is also president of the African Association of Madison, chair of the Africa Fest Planning
& Implementation Committee and a board member, ACCD (African Center for Community Development).
1. African immigrants have insufficient opportunities to obtain resources such as jobs, housing, food,
and literacy programs. They face race issues including discriminations, racial profiling, inequalities,
and police brutalities. Culture assimilation is also difficult.
2. These challenges are similar to what African Americans undergo: race issues such as
discriminations, profiling, inequalities (including social), and police brutalities. There are insufficient
opportunities to obtain resources including jobs, housing, food, and literacy programs. Language
barriers and cultural assimilations can prove difficult.
3. Our first-generations are African Americans; they have assimilated fully to the American culture
and have a pure sense of freedom, as it should be in their own country. Our first generation therefore
faces the same challenges an African American do. They face challenges such as racial
discriminations, racial profiling/prejudices, racial/social inequalities, and police brutalities. They
diaspora. The diversity of Africans in culture, language, mode of dressing, religion, and respect for themselves and our host communities are common traits
exhibited by these organization. With the ACCD (African Center) coming up strong, the Africans and friends of Africa alike would have a permanent place in the
community for cultural bridge-building and understanding. It promises to be a place that would show the beginning of human race.         
5. The prominence of Africa Fest has received high acclamation in the Madison and the Greater Madison area over the years. People come from near and far to be
part of the festival. The experiences usually last longer than they bargained for. Hence, they keep on coming every year.  
6. The children’s department and children’s activities are my favorite Africa Fest offerings. One only needs to see the excitement on their faces during the festival. It
is like them saying; this is where they belong and this is their heritage.  
7. We need to enact initiatives that encourage cultural understanding leading to the realization that we are all the same!
Adetunji Lesi
Adetunji Lesi
Adetunji Lesi is from Nigeria, West Africa He is president of the African Center for Community
Development Inc
1. Some of the barriers that African immigrants face are initially settling down, integration into the
larger community, and job placement at an appropriate level that counts in the immigrant's
demonstrated education and work experience.
2. A barrier that the African community faces is the absence of a physical center that new immigrant
can go to meet other African immigrants that have navigated the system and identified resources that
are appropriate and culturally helpful to the new immigrant and his/her family.
3. Yes! The connection of African immigrants to their families back home, while helpful, can be
distracting. The African immigrant would not like to become a ward of the State. In fact, they sign
immigration papers not to be a ward of the State before arriving at the shores of United States.
Therefore, they are constantly under pressure to get something going job-wise. This is less so for the
first generation Africans that were born here as they have attained certain level of assimilation into
the fabric of the Madison community.           
4. The African organizations have presented a common platform for the Unity of Africans in the