By Song My Hoang
On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the African Student Association (ASA) showcased a celebration of African traditions and the diaspora at Breazzano House. Adrian Morgan ’16 and Bisiayo Fashemi ’16 hosted the event.
ASA, a student-run organization, was established in 2010 and was founded as an effort to promote the rich African culture.
The club promotes awareness of African culture and strives to unite African and non-African students by continually creating events that portray Africa in an authentic light.
The night was similar to an open-mic session, and it entailed a variety of student performances, each representing the different African traditions and diaspora.
President of ASA Chris Nwosu ’16 shared, “ We wanted this event to be a fun celebration of African culture. We particularly wanted to focus on the African diaspora and bring a wide cultural awareness that Africa is a continent where each country has its own traditions. At Union, we have students from West Africa and East Africa.”
African diaspora refers to “African communities throughout the world that are descended from the historic movement of peoples from peoples from Africa.”
ASA Treasurer Nazshonnii Brown ’17 recited a poem from a Nigerian artist named Uchenna Hilary Chime.
“The poem speaks to everyone, but it’s really directed toward Africans of the diaspora. We often highlight the African diaspora because it’s the part of our mission that personally relates to most of us,” said Brown.
Omneya Ghanem ’16 performed “Raqs baladi,” which translates to country dancing Arabs refer to it as belly dancing. It is most known as an Egyptian folk dance.
Ghanem explained, “In ‘Raqs baladi,’ men usually dance this with swords, which demonstrate their manhood and competitive nature. As an almost flirtatious response, women would dance using wooden sticks.”
Nwosu, Mohammed Raheem ’16, ASA President Emeritus Owusu Mensah ’14 and Samuel Lartey ’18 took part in an African drumming performance. The group also performed the drumming during ASA’s event last spring term.
“People liked the (drumming performance) last year. In fact, we performed for an elementary school a week prior to this event,” commented Nwosu.
It was also an interactive event because the audience was able to get involved by learning dance moves and drumming techniques.
Nwosu noted, “Union College is doing a great job recruiting students from different backgrounds and cultures. We, the students, need to be more welcoming and learn from our differences.”
“I would like to thank the Union College community for coming out to the event,” he concluded.