The Gustavian Weekly

PASO celebrates black culture with Africa Week | The Gustavian Weekly

By Emily VanGorder - Staff Writer | March 8, 2019 | News

Next Monday marks the beginning of Africa Week, an annual event which serves to educate and celebrate Pan-Africanism and black culture.

The week leading up to Africa Night is full of events and discussion, and culminates on Friday, March 15 with Africa Night, where students will perform art in a variety of mediums that demonstrate the similarities and differences within Pan-Africanism. Authentic cuisine from different African countries will be provided.

“The idea of having an African Night in itself has a desired impact on the campus community… inviting the campus community to celebrate with PASO… is expected to get people reflecting on the meaning of “diversity”–a term that is used so often, but which is also interpreted in so many ways,” Paschal Kyoore, Professor in LALACS, said.

The events of the week are being hosted by the Pan-Afrikan Student Organization (PASO).

“PASO members are inviting the community to have meaningful conversations that day on a continent that is too marginalized to have meaningful conversations,” Kyoore said.

DeAnna Giles, one of the co-chairs for Africa Night, wants to promote and educate people about PASO and the African Diaspora.

“This year we wanted to not only branch out to other areas of Africa because it is a huge continent but we also wanted to include the Caribbean’s because they are a part of the African American culture as well,” Giles said.

“It was one of those big budget events I looked forward to every year… the event was highly anticipated. Looking back, Africa Night was important to a community… African associations from St. Olaf and Macalester visited our Africa Night… it was important to a community, linking many… without sports or competition,” Baseme Osuamkpe, a Gustavus alumna from the class of 2015, said.

“I got my first runway experience strutting down the runway every year in Africa Night. I also helped with the skits as well,” Osuamkpe said.

Africa Week day one will host “What does my black look like?” with PASO discussing what being black means and “how we view the world through our own cultural lens despite us being viewed as simply black people,” the organization said.

Day two will feature a dance class exploring West African rhythms and hip hop. Day three will follow with an evening of making wrist beads and getting to know the members of PASO at Gustavus.

Day four will feature an open mic night before the final Africa Week celebration on day five.

“[The event is] central… to many, it was a big production that was extremely engaging and entertaining. It gave a small glimpse of the beauty and diversity within Africa,” Osuamkpe said.

“[This year’s theme of Black Eminence] is inspired by the history of Pan-Africanism, and the contributions of African peoples to civilization in its multiple forms and meanings,” Kyoore said.

“I participated in all my four years and no two Africa Nights were ever the same. There’s so much culture, different cuisine to try, different dance to experience, different voiced to hear that represented the ever- evolving regions of Africa” Osuamkpe said.

“As a first generation Nigerian American from Houston, Texas… it was like a homecoming of sorts. I remember eating jollof rice and fried chicken my first year and feeling the embrace I had so missed from my family after being away for so long,” Osuamkpe said.

In the future, Kyoore would “like to see the tradition of good attendance of Africa Night continue… I would like to see those numbers increase every year.”

“I am always surprised to see so much faculty in attendance. It sparks conversations and relationships with some professors that I am still in contact with today,” Osuamkpe said.

Post a Comment




It is the goal of The Gustavian Weekly to spark a rich and meaningful conversation of varying viewpoints with readers. By submitting a comment you grant The Gustavian Weekly a perpetual license to reproduce your words, full name and website on this website and in its print edition. By submitting a comment, you also agree to not hold The Gustavian Weekly or Gustavus Adolphus College liable for anything relating to your comment, and agree to take full legal responsibility for your comment and to indemnify and hold harmless The Gustavian Weekly and Gustavus Adolphus College from any claims, lawsuits, judgments, legal fees and costs that it may incur on account of your comment or in enforcing this agreement. Comments that pass through our automatic spam filter are posted immediately. Comments that do not include the full first and last name of the visitor, include links or content relating to entities that do not directly relate to the content of the article, include profanity, or include copyrighted material may be removed from the site. The Weekly's Web Editor and Editor-in-Chief also reserve the right to remove comments for other reasons at their discretion. Criticism of The Weekly is welcome in the comment section of the website, and those wishing to express criticism of The Weekly are also encouraged to contact the Editor-in-Chief or submit a letter to the editor. Please be respectful, and thank you for your contribution!