Apart from the fun, an important message was given
On Saturday, March 19, I attended Africa Night at Minnesota State University, Mankato. This year was my first year in attendance and I really looked forward to it.
Going to this event expanded my knowledge and it allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. Something that I really respect about the native African culture is the way that they are all so proud and loyal to their country and who they are as a people.
It saddens me that so many African-Americans have lost touch of our heritage since our ancestors were taken from the homeland. Because of this, we don’t really have a sense of our African culture and we don’t have knowledge of our lineage. Sitting at African night, I realized that there are so many things that I don’t know about the continent.
When my friend and I first arrived at the event, there were so many people in attendance. I would say about 75 percent of the seats were taken. A lot of the guests and the performers wore what I would describe as Afrocentric outfits. The men’s printed pants matched their date’s printed dresses, which also matched their stylish headpieces. It was a sight to see.
There was so much pride in the students that I could see in every moment of the night. The performers opened the night with their rendition of the “Circle of Life.” I got chills just from the vocals and the feeling of togetherness in the room.
Throughout the evening, many groups got on stage to showcase their dance skills and their voices. Some groups even performed skits that had the crowd whooping and hollering. Some of which felt like an inside joke, but laughter is contagious so that didn’t hinder the time I had. I could tell that they were all well prepared. I was most excited when a group danced to a montage of current pop culture music. I felt like that helped to include the African-American guests.
Also during the performance portion of the night, a slideshow was presented that denounced all of the common misconceptions about African.
First, Africa is not defined by poverty. You know when people say don’t waste food because there are “starving children in Africa?” Yes, there are, but there are starving children everywhere. That includes America.
Second, Africans don’t live in huts. A simple Google search will show that Africa has its bad parts and also it has luxurious neighborhoods.
Third, African women are more than stay home moms who have nothing to do other than bear babies.
Fourth, Africa does not need a savior. That last one was so powerful to hear that I nearly jumped from my seat!
Near the closing of the night, a young man took the stage to give a speech titled “I Am Africa.” In the speech, he expressed all the things that he was proud to say made him a man of Africa. He described Africa as many things, but what most stood out was “a place where the sun shines, and I mean really shines.” At the end of his speech, he shared that Africa is a place with one goal and that is to show the world how strong it has become despite everything that it has been through in the past.
In short, African night was amazing, informative and made me even more proud of where my people came from. It was a pleasure to attend.
Photo: (Yohanes Ashenafi/The Reporter)