UB ASA holds African Awareness Week
Students indulge African cultures
This week, the African Student Association (ASA) aimed to clear up the concept that “African” is simply another stereotype.
ASA held its annual African Awareness Week this week, highlighting different African cultures and their unique contrast with American culture through events for the UB community. The club aimed to demonstrate that African culture is an umbrella term for a continent encompassing many different countries with different ethnicities and traditions.
“UB students should know that African culture is many cultures mixed into one,” said Nosazena Iyekegbe, activities coordinator for ASA and a junior nursing major. “Every part of Africa is different and similar in many ways when it comes to music, language and food.”
To Iyekegbe, African Awareness Week was created to spread African pride and educate those unaware of the many cultural traditions Africa holds.
The week embodies many different African cultures exhibited throughout daily events.
“African Awareness [Week] was started to help familiarize the UB and Buffalo communities to African culture and heritage,” said Charles D’Onigbinde, ASA president and a senior chemistry major. “It highlights our dances, music, arts and beliefs. It has evolved over the years and is now used to bring attention to our bigger events … but it still intends on delivering the essence of being African.”
On Monday the club hosted bead making, which can be a representation of bravery and even wisdom in many different African cultures
On Thursday, ASA held a fiery Zumba class in conjunction with the Latin American Student Association (LASA), in which both clubs incorporated African and Latin flavor.
The wrap-up to awareness week will be ASA’s annual fashion show “Shades of Afrique” on Saturday, which will showcase different elements of African fashion and talent.
“UB’s African community is very prominent on campus compared to other schools I have seen,” D’Onigbinde said. “I see the influence everywhere from the slang to the music we play at parties.”
D’Onigbinde said he sees the spreading and adoption of African cultures much more prominently at UB than at other schools.
Strides have been made in efforts for non-African UB students to appreciate and understand different African cultures, but Iyekegbe still feels like the UB community can improve.
“People are just starting to appreciate African culture by being more open and trying to learn our culture by wearing things like Ankara and dashikis and trying to cook our popular foods like jollof rice,” Iyekegbe said.
Iyekegbe also stressed the differences among respective African cultures and how many people can’t fully gain respect for African cultures until they realize that the cultures are not all the same.
“Being African was something I, due to my educational environment, was ashamed to claim. ‘African Booty Scratcher’ was one of many terms associated with African people that repressed my desire to embrace my culture,” said Terem Adi, a junior health and human services major. “Being at UB changed my perspective entirely. I met dozens of African students who were beaming with pride and were fully engulfed in their culture.”
Adi, like many others on campus, is Nigerian and said many things allow her to bask in her Nigerian culture around campus.
“Being African makes me feel unique and special. The fact that I lived there adds even more pride,” said fellow Nigerian student and junior biological sciences major Adeyinka Ajiboye. “From the language to the clothing to the food, everything African is simply awesome.”
D’Onigbinde said that as president of ASA it’s his and his club’s job to help foster the African culture in the UB and Buffalo communities.
Ty Adams is a features staff writer. Features desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.