Show Your Pride with an African Baby Shower

Everyone enjoys culturally themed celebrations and one very interesting and different one is an African baby shower. The Dark Continent is so full of varied and little-known yet so familiar cultures, it will definitely be a different experience for everybody.

A very original yet simple invitation to make is a small passport. You could have the passport front printed out and print the details of the African baby shower on the inside or on another sheet of paper. Stamp one side like a visa and fill in all the details there. This is also where you put the requests to come in African costume.

Decorate in the colors of Africa – green, brown, khaki, and black all over. Choose green balloons or use the balloons in bunches to simulate the leaves of trees by hanging bunches of them low over dried branches or above cardboard cutouts of tree trunks. Use Kwanzaa colors of red, blue, green, and yellow for the floral arrangements. Group plants together in corners of the room and decorate them with flowers in red, blue, and yellow. Get plush toys of African animals and position them throughout the party area. Complete the mood with African music in the background.

Use differently patterned animal skin tablecloths for each table. An African-themed centerpiece requires natural, lustrous materials. Set little candles in pottery bowls that have leather strips tied around it. You could incorporate some wooden beads in this. Center a large pottery bowl in the middle of the table and pile some tropical fruits like bananas and papayas in it. Add a side arrangement of flowers in bright yellow and red in the bowl (use plastic-covered floral foam as a base to make it appear like a small bouquet).

Set your food on a highly polished wooden table or use more animal prints to cover it. Flank the table with caladium plants and have a wooden monkey or lion statue standing guard over the food, decorated with more flowers. Serve the food on wooden platters and scatter red, yellow, blue, and green glass pebbles around them. Tuck in a few more votive candles in pottery holders.

African food is a mix of many cultures but there are a few ingredients that are very common to all of them – yams, cornmeal, okra, peanuts, chilies, millet, tomatoes, plantains, and bananas. Stew is a common way of cooking meat and more often than not, it's spicy. Some ideas for your menu could be chicken and peanut stew, plantains cooked in coconut milk, okra and greens (very common in the American Deep South), and baked or grilled squash and yams. Desserts are not that common but fruits are a common ingredient like grilled fruits like mango, pineapple, and banana chunks on a stick with a sweet peanut sauce. The perfect beverage for this is East African cardamom tea or soda.

A traditional African game that can be played at this baby shower is “Fortuneteller.” Prepare small cards for this game, pens, and six small pouches. Label each bag with “name,” “country,” “car,” “pet,” “home,” and “job.” Each guest fills out the cards in each category, starting with their own names and the rest with what they hope to have in the future. Each card is dropped in the appropriate bag and shaken to mix them up. The hostess starts by drawing a name and that person gets to pick one card from each bag. That person then draws the name of the next person in line until everyone has a set of cards. Then, each one reads her fortune out.

Favors could be cinch bags with a necklace or bracelet made of wooden beads, a small bar of soap that smells like bananas and mango body butter.