KASA’s ‘Faces of Africa’ features cultural dance, food

Amadeus Smith

Drummers from the “Kulu Mele Dancers” kicked off the night with African music, dressed in traditional African attire. HEATHER STAWICKI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Last night, the Kent African Student Association hosted “Faces of Africa,” the 27th annual African Night.

KASA president Ewaohi Ify Amu said the name acts as a metaphor for the different cultures of Africa.

She said KASA was attempting to show Africa’s diversity by exhibiting cultural components, like different forms of dance from the northern, southern, eastern and western parts of Africa.

“We’re hoping to expand people’s perceptions of Africa,” said Amu, senior biology major. “There’s not just one small community.”

She said one misconception is that all of Africa is affected by one tragic event in one part of the continent.

The event began with a performance from the dance group Kulu Mele.

Three women, one in a red cape, one in purple and another in teal twirled around the stage as the beat from the drums grew faster.

Junior theater major Lena Dowdell said she appreciated the African dance more than anything else.

“The energy – it takes a lot to do African dance,” Dowdell said.

The event also featured fashion shows exhibiting the traditional and modern fashions of Africa. As the audience watched the models show off dresses, they feasted on spicy ginger chicken, jollof rice, fried plantains and Chin Chin, bite-size balls of fried dough.

Junior accounting major Demar Tarrance agreed the public is, for the most part, unaware of the actual environment of Africa.

“I used to think there were no houses or anything,” Tarrance said as he wiped the ginger sauce from his hands. “Now, I know it’s cities and culture just like any other continent.”

But Steve Michael, vice provost of diversity and academic initiatives said the problems of Africa go beyond recognition of separate cultures.

“There is a part (of Africa) that is hardly seen,” said Michael, who has traveled across Africa. “The residue from colonization, corruption and conflict, the three Cs, makes the resources unprofitable for the development of the country.”

Contact general assignment reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].