KASA experiences Africa at 20th annual African Night

The Kent African Student Association hosted its 20th annual African Night Friday evening in the Student Center Ballroom.

The event kicked off with the president of KASA, Anilson Cardoso, singing the national anthem of Cape Verde, an island off the coast of Western Africa. He asked the audience to stand as he sang. 

Cardoso said that this year’s theme for African Night was “We Challenge You to Experience Africa.” He said he wanted everyone to leave with a better understanding of African culture.

Nneka Adigwe, a senior public health major, was one of the announcers for African Night and helped encourage the audience to cheer on the numerous performers and contestants that were on stage. She said that the turnout was about normal compared to previous years. 

“Everybody’s from Africa in my opinion. That is where we originated. It’s just we come together and have a good time,” Adigwe said. “It’s a normal thing. Everybody comes. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or Chinese.”

Barefeet Dance Tribe followed with a “clash of cultures” performance. The dancers performed traditional African dances and songs and also added music with current dances and songs like “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj.

“I feel like the event is important so people can get an understanding of African roots and culture,” Captain of Barefeet Dance Tribe Rumbidzai Muping said. “It’s important to know where it all started.”

Muping represented the African country of Zimbabwe.

Mamadou Ndiaye, vice president of Black United Students, noted the importance of spreading awareness about African culture.

“Most people aren’t aware of what true African culture is,” Ndiaye said. “The media portrays this image of Africa that is not representative of the people and of the continent itself.”

He represented the countries of Senegal and Burking Faso.

KASA also performed its take on the Ice Bucket Challenge. Instead of dumping ice water, the contestants had to carry a bucket of groceries over their heads and walk down the runway.

“Growing up, my mom taught me that Africa was this great place, but in school, I was taught that Africa was this impoverished place that you don’t want to go to,” junior sociology major Nyaruach Chuol said. “So, we have to showcase the good things about Africa because the world doesn’t do that for us.”

Although she said she was born in Kenya, she also represented South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Students from the Studio African Dance 1 performed a traditional African dance with patterned bottoms and fans. Three students played the drums while the rest danced.

Kent State students, including several members from Barefeet Dance Tribe, modeled various styles of African attire. Models showcased diverse clothing from Sari wraps from the Indian subcontinent and colorful dashikis from East Africa.

Six more audience members were chosen for a toy making challenge. Split into teams of three, participants had 60 seconds to create a toy using items such as bottle caps, for instance.

After an intermission, an African-style rap duo, Frank G, performed. The show ended with a performance from AK6 African Boys, an all-male dance group from Columbus.

Contact Daisha Overstreet at [email protected]. Contact Sabrina Scott at [email protected].