“This is my Africa” hosted by the African Students Association
Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter
With a striking display of fashion, dancing and art, audiences who attended ‘This is my Africa,’ hosted by the African Students Association, witnessed all the vibrancy African culture has to offer.
Alfred Baah, senior and physics major, African Students Association president, said African students within the Southern community have not had the chance to fully express their heritage, but ‘This is my Africa’ finally made expressing their culture a reality.
Baah said, the African Students Association wanted to display Africa’s multifaceted culture through a variety of mediums, such as music, dancing, and poetry. Baah said the show featured poets and dance teams from all over who wanted to express what African culture meant to them.
Enoch Effah, senior communications major, designer for ‘This is my Africa,’ said African clothing has always been a fascination of his. Born and raised in Ghana West Africa, up until the age of 14, he said fashion was a major aspect that defined his culture.
Effah said he was inspired by the various, rich cultures displayed throughout the numerous regions of Africa and incorporated aspects of American fashion as well.
“Our clothing is very unique, it stands out, and has a touch of both American and African,” said Effah. “The material for the clothing is obviously of African design, but you can see the American touches that was added because you want to win customers from both countries, the African side and the American side.”
This was the second African Student Association show for Nakia Howard, sophomore and social work major. Howard said she felt the purpose of ‘This is my Africa’ was to encourage audiences to love and be proud of their African heritage.
Howard said the various aspects incorporated into event, such as the runway and the audience participation, made the show stand out.
“I liked the runway, that was different, it was more of a fashion show feel,” said Howard. “I liked the way it was set up, I liked that it was in the ballroom. I think they did a really good job. The makeup was nice and the energy was nice. I liked when they were freestyling and they were pulling everyone out of the audience, it was off topic and I liked that a lot.”
Vanessa Kacou, junior marketing major, events coordinator for the African Students Association, said ‘This is my Africa’ was the culmination of a tremendous amount of passion and hard work. She said she wanted the audience’s’ focus to be on the details that were incorporated onto the models, not just the makeup, but the beauty, the tribal marks, the clothing, as well as the hairstyles, and to reflect on what it all meant.
Kacou said representation of African culture is often negative and misconstrued, and through ‘This is my Africa,’ the African Students Association could demonstrate the profound reality that is their heritage.
“We want to expose the positive side of Africa that the media does not portray,” said Kacou. “Today in the westernized media they portray Africa to be poor, we are starving, you are ugly, but tonight we are going to show you that, not only are we beautiful, but our culture is beautiful, our dancing is beautiful, our clothing is beautiful. With our intelligence, with our culture, our traditions, we are just beautiful people who have a lot to offer the world.”
Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter