Africa Night brings “A Taste of Africa” to MSU

After two years, the African Student Association hosted Africa Night at Minnesota State University, Mankato as a showcase of culture. The theme for Saturday’s event, A Taste of Africa, was brought to life by ASA members and volunteers.

For MSU sophomore Nuna Melaw, the event is about a sense of community.

“We’re all away from home, and coming here and uniting together feels better,” said Melaw.

In addition to creating a sense of home for African students, the event was welcoming for every student to enjoy themselves, as well as learn and embrace African culture. Zoe Gorah is an ASA member who represented South Africa on stage last Saturday.

“People are very afraid of the fact they may be different people here and they may not be welcome, but it’s an event for everybody to enjoy,” shared Gorah. “If you like food and if you like to watch shows and performances, everybody’s welcome.” 

To show culture this year, countries were represented by a cultural dish on a slideshow before their performance. With the return of the event, Gorah was blown away by the success. 

“We didn’t expect [the turnout.] We had a capacity of 700 people, but we decided to just take 600 and then the other hundred people are the volunteers, who put in a lot of work for this event,” shared Gorah.

Gorah was proud of the performances that entertained the audience.

“I was so proud of our performances. We’ve been getting ready for Africa Night for a long time, and it felt like things were not gonna come together,” said Gorah. “We wandered on stage, did our magic and it worked.” 

This event was completely funded by students’ passion to share their culture. Gorah explained how ASA invited students of almost each of the African countries represented on campus to attend.

“We [told people] we would like anybody who is willing to represent their country in any way. ‘Just come in, do your thing’ and people came. People came to represent Ethiopia, people came to represent Congo,” said Gorah.

Furthermore, Gorah appreciated the efforts the students put into the event.

“All that practice and dance that they put in, they were all doing it just to represent their countries,” shared Gorah. “They were not getting paid. They got their own clothes just so that they could come and showcase their culture.” 

Melaw explained the importance of hosting events like this on campus and encouraged students to educate themselves by attending next year. 

“A lot of people that are not African think that Africa is one big country, which it’s not,” said Melaw. “Come see and learn the different cultures that Africa has.”

Header Photo: Africa Night returned to campus after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. A variety of performers took to the stage to showcase their cultures. (Emily Lansman/The Reporter)

Write to: Lilly Schmidt at lillian.schmidt@mnsu.edu

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