African Student Association highlights cultures across Africa

India Said

Kent State’s African Student Association highlighted the different cultures across Africa with its second annual Face of Africa Pageant in the Schwartz Center Lecture Hall on Friday night.

KASA was established on the university’s main campus in 1969 to educate and inform students about Africa and it’s various cultures, as well as to create a support system for African students on campus.

At the event’s pageant, seven contestants represented different countries within Africa, and competed to become Mr. and Miss Africa.

The hosts for the night were Bilikis Mogaili, a junior public health major, and Alumni computer science and engineering major, Bo Boateng. Throughout the night, DJ Rah handled the various African dance music played to keep the crowd pumped for the pageant.

The contestants of the show included: Yetunde Babalola, a junior biology pre-med major who represented Egypt; Calil Cage, a freshman business management major, who represented Sierra Leone; Akos Owusu-Korkor, a freshman computer science and animation who represented Mozambique; Michael Olafloye, a freshman digital media productions major, who represented Madagascar; Blessing Oyedele, a freshman architecture major who represented Kenya. Daisha Williams, a senior biology major, who represented South Africa, and Tanaka Mupinga, a senior biology, pre-med major concentration in chemistry, who represented Zimbabwe.

Following the introduction of the contestants, the judges were recognized: Amoaba Gooden, of the Pan–African studies department, Ashley Williams, assistant director of the Student Multicultural Center and Della Marshall, senior associate director of the Center for Student Involvement.

Boateng presented the first performance of the night by Kent State’s modern Africa dance group Asé Xpressions

Contestants then walked out in outfits made out of material such as newspaper, trash bags, tulle and velvet for the creative wear portion of the show.

The second portion was centered on talent, and included dance and music performances, modeling, an art presentation and spoken word.

Kent State’s Barefeet Dance Tribe took over the stage for the final portion of the pageant which was evening wear along with a question and answer session.

Williams was asked if she thought Africans and African Americans are beginning to embrace their culture more.

“I’m not from the motherland, but I am of African decent, and I am so glad I got to perform on stage and celebrate being African,” Williams responded.

The second runner-ups were Owusu-Korkor and Olafloye, and the first runner-ups were Babalola and Cage.

Mupinga was announced as Mr. Africa and former Miss Africa, Afia Boateng, handed over her crown to the new queen, Oyedele.

India Said is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected]