Celebration and education

Africa is a continent filled with rich, diverse cultures and communities.

The University of Idaho African Student Association (ASA) — a club run through the Student Diversity Center — was formed as a way to share that diversity and richness of African culture with students.

In an effort to celebrate that culture and educate others, ASA members host Africa Night — an annual occurrence. This year’s two-hour event takes place 5 p.m. Sunday, boasting a variety of attractions.

“There is going to be dances, drama, a fashion show, a flag show, singing and different groups are going to perform,” said Fola Ogidan, ASA vice president studying mathematics.

African Night aims to expose UI students and the surrounding community to African culture, according to the ASA’s VandalSync entry.

Caleb Chibuike, ASA secretary, and Ogidan said the event has been an annual occurrence for at least 10 years.

“You might see more of the West African side (at this event) because we have more West African people among us (in ASA),” Ogidan said.

Food highlighting African cuisine will be served at the event. Ogidan and Chibuike said soups, rice, chicken and drinks will be available. There will also be vegetarian options.

In addition to educating people, ASA members said they hope the event will bring African students together as they celebrate their cultures.

“We want to show people what (our culture) is about,” Ogidan said. “We want them to taste our food, see our dances and see our attire. We want to promote our cultures at the University of Idaho.”

Ogidan and Chibuike both agree the food is one of their favorite parts of the event. Ogidan also enjoys the fashion and dance shows.

“We hope that people get educated about Africa and our cultures (through this event),” Chibuike said. “Certain times, people have this misconception that Africa is one culture. Africa is made up of several different cultures, 54 to be exact. There are different kinds of behaviors, different cultures … and over 3,000 languages.”

Ogidan said these cultures also have unique food.

This year’s African Night, Hukuru HweAfrica, or “African Royalty,” will occur in the International Ballroom of the Bruce Pitman Center.

Tickets can be purchased for $10 in the Idaho Commons until Nov. 2. They are also available online for $12.

More information can be found through the ASA’s Facebook page. ASA meets in the Teaching and Learning Center’s Room 229 at 5 p.m. on Fridays. All students, especially African students, are welcome to attend meetings.

Alexis Van Horn can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @AlexisRVanHorn

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