The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Africa Week celebration kicks off

Africa Week opened Monday with an address by the chair of the Pan African Studies department, Tom Spencer-Walters, and a presentation by talking drum player Adeyinka Lipede in the Thousand Oaks room of the University Student Union.

Africa Week was first organized seven years ago with the intent of educating students about the continent and showcasing the culture of Africa.

This year Africa Week is focusing on ‘bridging the gap between Africa and the African diasporas,’ according to Spencer-Walters.

‘We talk about those who went through the Atlantic slave trade and then we talk about those staying in Africa, then we talk about those who have developed cultures elsewhere in the world,’ said Spencer-Walters. ‘But these are all dimensions of blackness, they are all dimensions of the African culture.’

According to Spencer-Walters, a divide emerged during the 1950s and ’60s where African Americans felt disliked and abandoned by those still living in Africa.

‘It was because we didn’t really share information,’ said Spencer-Walters. ‘We didn’t know about the things that united us.’

Part of the solution then for Spencer-Walters is ‘to de-emphasize those things that divide us and emphasize the things that bring us together.’

A major portion of Spencer-Walkers’ address focused on President-elect Barack Obama.
‘Part of (Obama’s) ancestry is from Kenya, and the other half is from the Kansas area,’ said Spencer-Walters. ‘He grew up in Hawaii. So when you begin to put all of these disparate elements’hellip; together you see a man who is of the world.’

‘You have to have a president who sees beyond the limited horizons of who is an American and who is not,’ said Spencer-Walters.

Prior to Spencer-Walkers’ address, Lipede gave a demonstration of the talking drum, an African instrument used in weddings and other ceremonies.

Lipede began by playing a couple familiar songs, such as ‘Happy Birthday To You,’ and then moved on to some traditional African music.

Two students from the audience accepted an invitation from Lipede to play the talking drum. The students started off with a soft and hesitant beat, watching Lipede with an uncertain look, before venturing into pounding rhythms of their own.

The African Student Organization (ASO) organized the events of Africa Week.

According to Donnella Collison, who is president of the ASO and has helped organize this event twice before, this year’s Africa Week features new elements and an expanded fashion show.

‘African history or African American history did not start with slavery,’ said Spencer-Walters.

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