African Night 2018 is a booming success

ISU Bhangra performs as a part of African Night on April 7 at the Ames Auditorium. African Night is held annually by the African Students Association and features cultural dances, a play, poetry and more.

Mike Brown

“It takes a village.”

This was the theme of Iowa State’s 2018 African Night. The night was emceed by King Drewwskyy, who riled the crowd throughout the night between events and shouted out the home countries of the African students in attendance.

The keynote speaker and senior lecturer in economics, Ebby Luvaga, spoke the importance of a village in a way that many may not have traditionally thought.

“When we come from Africa some of you come here and you’re thinking ‘I don’t know who I’m going to find and I’m leaving my village behind,’ really when you really think about it you’re not really leaving your village behind because you’re always, always, always part of a village,” Luvaga said.

Luvaga also shared other African proverbs emphasizing the importance of community, including “an axe does not cut down a tree by itself” among others.

Joyeux Noel, sophomore in electrical engineering, felt Luvaga’s message of what it means to be a village was his biggest takeaway from the evening.

“There’s a bigger picture to a village, then there’s little parts to it, a village is not really a small place, its big, and with everyone coming together they can be more successful in whatever they try to accomplish,” Noel said.

The night was highlighted with dancing from many different cultural backgrounds and influences from around Africa. Drummers were also featured, and brought members of the crowd up to play instruments alongside them on stage.

The food served also offered a wide range of different African cuisines to explore. Jollof rice, fufu and sambusa were among the dishes served before the main events of the night took place.

Bonito Ndayishimiye, freshman in pre-business, also felt African Night was a time of sharing culture and community.

“African Night was a way to get people to come together in community to learn about each other and support each other,” Ndayishimiye said.

Joe Swilley, junior in microbiology, read one of his poetry pieces titled “Letters to My Unborn Son” where he detailed milestones in his future child’s life and any successes and hardships they might face should Swilley not be there to witness them.

A play by the name “It Takes A Village” was also acted out by African Students Association (ASA).

The play detailed a young girl’s search for self in light of her absent mother, and her father’s struggle to raise her as a single dad. The daughter, in the end, came to realize she didn’t need to find identity in her mother to find out who she was, because her village helped raise her to become the woman she is.

A total of five scholarships worth $500 were awarded by the ASA at the event, and senior ASA members were awarded and honored in light of their upcoming graduation.

A fashion show, showcased both modern and traditional styles from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Sudan.

Many of the student models carried their country’s flag and briefly danced and celebrated their pride in their culture and home on stage, culminating with all the student models of the fashion show coming together and dancing to a live drum tune played on stage.