From pulsating drumbeats to elaborate and casual fashion, the Africa Week Gala Banquet allowed CSUN students and community members on Friday to see and hear some of what the diverse continent of Africa has to offer.
The event, hosted by members of the African Studies Interdisciplinary Committee, brought Africa Week to a close. The gala was held in the Shoshone Room at the Satellite Student Union. The three-hour event consisted of fashion, music and dances from African cultures. It was a celebration of community and culture throughout the night.
“My boyfriend is African and I am a part of the Black Student Union here on campus,” said Whitney Ligon, a junior. “So I came out to support African events here at CSUN, which are always fun and educational.”
Early in the evening, event coordinator Dr. Tom Spencer-Walters, presented Harry Hellenbrand, CSUN’s vice president of academic affairs, a plaque for his numerous efforts and support for the Pan African Studies department.
“Throughout events like this we embrace culture, dress, ideas and learn about other cultures,” Hellenbrand said.
During dinner the committee provided a slide show on the Uganda malaria project. After dinner, guest speaker Ayuko Babu, executive director of the Pan African Film Festival, gave a speech, followed by an awards ceremony acknowledging members of the department.
Towards the end of the gala there was an African world fashion show, followed by music from the African Dance Ensemble.
“The dancers were very beautiful in their work,” said Cindee Moore, a senior who was a part of the audience. “Every year I look forward to attending events during Africa week, because as an African American it’s important to support my culture as well as others.”
“I have a lot of African friends and it’s always good to learn about other people’s countries,” Moore said. “Instead of just going to the movies or reading a book you see stuff like how people dress and learn new things.”
Linda Woo, a freshman who was attending with her boyfriend, said they both wanted to experience other cultures.
“I came out of interest and also for my class.” she said. “I have never seen anything a part of African culture before?the music, the food, it’s different, yet interesting.”
This gala was beneficial for observers and students who wanted to gain knowledge of other cultures. The Africa Week Gala Banquet did just that. It brought aspects and insight into cultures, allowing others to share the experience.
African cultures are made all the more interesting because they are so diverse. Every African country is a mix of tribes, each with their own unique language and culture.
The variety of cultures in attendance was befitting such an event. There were people from a variety of African backgrounds, as well as representatives from the many cultures that make up the melting pot that is CSUN.
“I don’t go to CSUN but my sister does and she told me about this event tonight”,
Genice Lagway said. ” We come from a family of all shades of black and have other races also who we consider family. So it’s always nice to share something like this with members of my family.”
Whether onlookers ventured to the event to see a friend, eat great food or simply to learn more about an unfamiliar culture as Linda Woo did, those who attended the show were given multiple examples of dance, fashion and music of the African culture.
Whitney Ligon added, “I think the main point of Africa week and events like this is to show people a different view and things about the culture they may not have known. I think the week’s events were successful and helped show some realities of Africa.”
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