African Night Ubuntu shares its culture with people from all walks of life – The Observer

An eruption of laughter echoed around the SURC ballroom as two audience members made their way from their seats to the stage, bathed in purple lighting in front of the crowd.

African Night Ubuntu comedian and host General Mutombo invited the couple to dance to a hard-hitting Afrobeats song, while each side of the audience judged who had the best moves and the DJ accented each joke with sound effects from alarm. which ignited the room.

The event, which was held on Saturday May 7, was hosted by the Association of Central African Students (CASA) for the first time since the pandemic began, and the organizers said they wanted the evening to be special.

“We went a little extravagant, which is what we wanted,” said Ibtisam Sivoy, president of CASA and a second-year law and justice and political science student.

Sivoy said African Night is a celebration of African fashion, traditions and culture.

“I want people to see the beauty of Africa the same way they see the beauty of Europe,” Sivoy said. “There are many invisibles. I want people to think, ‘I’m going to vacation in Nigeria, I’m going to vacation in Ghana.’

Atong Miyar, Marketing Specialist and CASA Representative, said the event aims to reach out to African students and enable non-African students to better understand African cultures. Miyar said the event was very formal and the theme was “Ubuntu“.

“Ubuntu loosely translates to ‘I am because you are.’ It basically means uniting us,” Miyar said. “One thing about African culture that we all have in common is that we like to thrive. , from your dress to the music, everything should be in perfect condition.

African Night Impact

This event included a fashion show, a short play, photo ops, a red carpet, a banquet full of food, live music, poetry and dancing as the audience roared.

Catherine Lumeya, a senior public health worker who helped plan the event, said her favorite parts of the evening included the emcee and his entertaining jokes, as well as the performances.

Psychology graduate Victoria Dennis has choreographed more than a dozen dance pieces for various students.

“I want to show them that every night we got together, we practiced over and over and over…it was all worth it,” Dennis said. “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”

Dennis said she thinks African Night is important because it allows Africans to come together in a safe space.

“To know that we have understood each other, this group of people will always be there to guide you, you can come and express yourself and there is no judgment, it’s very important to see that on a university campus mainly full of whites,” Dennis mentioned.

Ellensburg has little to no African dining options. According to Miyar, the ability to eat African cuisine allows him to feel in touch with his roots. On the menu, puff pastries, small balls of dough covered with powdered sugar, beef and vegetable samosas among other dishes.

“The foods were chosen because we wanted to reach the grassroots across the continent,” Lumeya said. “We thought about the food we can find everywhere, samosas can be found all over Africa. The beef, although it was cooked the East African way, you can find [it] In different countries. The rice you can also find in different countries, but it was mainly West African.

African Night exemplified the values ​​within a range of African cultures present in this community.

“I can’t really find that touch of culture here,” Miyar said. “By having African Night, I can see a touch of my culture being showcased, whether it’s not my own in particular, but it’s someone else’s that I can still relate to.”

Community involvement

Sivoy said she hopes this event will show the other side of Africa that people may not be aware of because it is not often portrayed in the media.

“When people think of Africa, they think poor,” Sivoy said. “They think Africa is a desert or there are no cars, nothing fun to do. I want people to know what we do, our traditions. I want people to know what what we do when someone loses someone. It’s the whole African continent that loses someone.

According to Miyar, African cultures are less individualistic than Western cultures.

Public Health Major and CASA Vice President Anderson Nsabanga said African Night is important because it brings together African students with people from all walks of life.

“I want to make African students proud of who they are and where they come from,” Nsabanga said.

Anyone interested in attending CASA events was invited to attend and enjoy African culture, according to Nsabanga.

According to first-year psychology student Gwendolyn Perry who attended the event, African Night lifted her spirits and was an opportunity for those who haven’t had so much exposure to Africa.

“It introduces people to different cultures and makes diversity less daunting for people who haven’t experienced so much diversity in their home lives,” Perry said. “It’s very educational and fun. People can experience it first hand.


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Steven L. Nielsen