ULV students celebrate African culture

Freshman psychology major Mercy Mgbemere, junior journalism major Angel Oparah, freshman English literature major Ruthie Chipeta and senior biology major Shaday Allen pose for a picture at the first African Student Association event, Nights in Africa, Thursday in the Howell Board Room. They each wore traditional attire from the African countries their ancestors came from. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Freshman psychology major Mercy Mgbemere, junior journalism major Angel Oparah, freshman English literature major Ruthie Chipeta and senior biology major Shaday Allen pose for a picture at the first African Student Association event, Nights in Africa, Thursday in the Howell Board Room. They each wore traditional attire from the African countries their ancestors came from. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Anisa Salazar
Staff Writer 

Africa is a melting pot of cultures that are unique and have a variety of different religions, music, languages and traditions.

The African Student Association held its first event – A Night in Africa – on April 11 in the Howell Board Room. The event introduced the organization’s six-member executive board and its mission of promoting African culture on campus.

With about 30 in attendance, the meeting began with the introduction of the group’s members and their mission to promote unity, awareness and empowerment among African students and their allies. 

The club’s mission is to provide a sense of community and celebrate culture while also fostering a supportive network for cultural exchange, academic success and individual growth.

Event coordinator and executive board Ruthie Chipeta, freshman English literature major, said that members of the club are happy to finally come together to share their favorite parts of home with everyone in attendance.

Chipeta said that it was important to them to provide authentic African food for everyone to enjoy, so finding someone to accommodate them was one of the most time-consuming parts of preparation for the event. West African food was catered by Afri Cali Kitchen, there were trays of chicken and vegetable jollof rice, plantain and akara. 

“I most enjoyed the food,” Natalie Wong, freshman computer science major, who attended the event, said. “I’ve never had traditional African food before, so it was a good experience, it’s really good.”

Chipeta said there is also East African and North African food, so what was provided at the event was only a small part of the food in Africa. She looks forward to having people explore these other types of food at future events.  

Many people in attendance came to support their friends who are part of the club and learn about a new culture that they have yet to experience.

Family members Glory Mgbemere, Grace Osueke and Anita Osueke partnered up with junior computer science major and African Student Association President Cherie Atalor in a game of “Guess the Afrobeat Song” Thursday in the Howell Board Room. During the 20-round Kahoot game, the teams faced off in an intense competition, trying to guess the Afrobeat songs from five-second audio clips. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Family members Glory Mgbemere, Grace Osueke and Anita Osueke partnered up with junior computer science major and African Student Association President Cherie Atalor in a game of “Guess the Afrobeat Song” Thursday in the Howell Board Room. During the 20-round Kahoot game, the teams faced off in an intense competition, trying to guess the Afrobeat songs from five-second audio clips. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

“The executive board and the club are really close so I enjoyed seeing them interact,” student in attendance Kate Rutledge, freshman anthropology and child development major, said. “My friend has been telling me that a lot of them are really great friends, so it was fun to see them all hang out together and enjoy themselves.”

With music being a large part of African culture, one of the games played throughout the night was an Afrobeats quiz. Two teams were competing on Kahoot, answering trivia questions about the music genre and some of its most popular artists. 

Another student in attendance, Maya Morrell, freshman criminology major said that she most enjoyed seeing the competitiveness between the two teams during the Afrobeats segment.

Chipeta said that going into this event, she was excited for people to see just how fun African culture is. 

“I think that there are so many amazing aspects of it, like our food and music, that kind of gets pushed aside because of the stereotypes that are out there,” Chipeta said.

To bring light to these stereotypes, another game that was played was “Stereotypes in Africa.” It was a quiz-style game with statements on Africa and everyone had to decide whether they were true or false. This brought awareness to some of the untrue statements that have been spread throughout the years about Africa as a continent and its cultures. 

Music will continue to be incorporated into future events with workshops and dancing as it is a huge thing culturally. 

Chipeta said there will also be panels of people talking about the important things that are going on back home. 

In the future, ASA plans to host more events on campus that will be geared toward raising awareness, educating the community about African history and cultures and promoting educational dialogue.  

Anisa Salazar can be reached at anisa.salazar@laverne.edu.   

Senior biology major Shaday Allen, freshman English literature major Ruthie Chipeta and freshman psychology major Mercy Mgbemere are ecstatic to be in the lead after a correct answer in the Guess the Afrobeat Song game Thursday in the Howell Board Room. The team emerged victorious in the Kahoot game. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Senior biology major Shaday Allen, freshman English literature major Ruthie Chipeta and freshman psychology major Mercy Mgbemere are ecstatic to be in the lead after a correct answer in the Guess the Afrobeat Song game Thursday in the Howell Board Room. The team emerged victorious in the Kahoot game. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Ayalen Ortiz, a freshman art major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He has past experience with graphic design, fine arts and video editing.

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