Annual African Night celebrates African culture through food and dance


Term instructor of Pan-African studies Olu Manns (left) performs on stage with students from his Cultural Expressions class. Manns was quoted “On the One” referring to the diversity of students in his class being brought together from nations all across the world during the 19th annual African Night, Friday, March 14, 2014.

Michael Lopick

A crowd of students dressed to the nines eagerly waited outside the Kent State Ballroom to celebrate a world of geles, dashikis and traditional African food.

Kent African Student Association’s 19th annual African Night was held Saturday with the theme “Rediscovering Africa.”

Monique Uthman, junior accounting major, looks forward to the event every year and feels that it helps African-American students explore their heritage outside of Black History Month in a fun, unique way.

“I absolutely love coming to African Night and have made a point to since I was a freshman,” she said. “It’s important for African-American students to realize that there’s more to being black than just what has gone on in America. Coming to African Night lets us reconnect with our past and appreciate the beautiful culture we come from.”

The event invited students to immerse themselves in African culture through performance, clothing and food.

A highlight from the night was when traditional African dance group Barefeet Dance Tribe took to the stage with an energetic and moving performance.

Olumhense Ikuenobe, junior managerial marketing major, enjoyed seeing the group keep African-American heritage alive on campus through dance.

“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to visit Nigeria, my parent’s homeland, and experience the beauty of Africa in person,” he said. “Many students, however, may never get the chance to travel there, so it truly warms my heart to see African culture celebrated on a large scale. Bare Feet’s performance took me back to my time in Nigeria and would’ve made my parents proud.”

The event also featured a fashion show to showcase the skills of young African-American designers.

Student’s of other cultural backgrounds also enjoyed rediscovering Africa.

Brie Jutte, a junior communication studies major, thought African Night was a great way for any student, no matter his or her race or background, to learn about African culture.

“I felt right at home during African Night, celebrating alongside other members of my Kent State family,” she said. “Events like this are important because they allow students to connect with their culture, while having others discover it. I loved getting a chance to sample delicious African food and will definitely be coming back next year.”

After the formal African Night concluded, students were invited to an after party held at Primos, a popular Akron 18-and-up club, to continue the celebration and dance the night away.

Contact Michael Lopick at [email protected].