Shaka: Our Africa
“Shaka: Our Africa” is a fitting title for the annual culture show that showcases Africa. For the past 19 years, the African Students Association has put on the culture show to celebrate the roots of its members. This year, I had the privilege of being a part of the show, so I’m giving you all an exclusive look into what the show means to the community that puts it on and to me, a senior editor for The Michigan Daily’s Michigan in Color. To me, ASA is my home away from home. My outlet to remember, appreciate and celebrate my Nigerian roots.
Special thanks to our wonderful photographer Adam Brodnax, fellow MiC senior editor and Business junior, for capturing the show in all its glory.
“For the first time, I made it out to the ASA Culture Show," Brodnax said. "It was an incredible experience that gave me a glimpse into the beauty and complexity of Africa and the many countries’ unique cultures. I was humbled to be able to capture the event and seeing so many of friends was so exciting!”
A lot of people may think Africa is filled with third-world countries, poverty, violence and hunger but ASA wants you all to know there’s so much more to Africa. Shaka presents to its audience the beauty of our Africa.
“The culture show was such a great experience that allowed me to better understand African culture while appreciating it at the same time,” said Che ’Rai Laster, LSA freshman.
“I loved Shaka. It took me out of my comfort zone. It made me embrace my culture more than I already do,” said Bianca Oteng, LSA sophomore.
“ASA is important to me because it allows me to showcase my culture in a fun and creative way,” said Zinny Weli, Engineering senior.
“I have great admiration and love for African culture, and because Africa is a huge continent, vast and diverse, I always need to learn more. The more countries I visit, the more humble and in awe I am of how much I did not know. I feel in my blood we are all related and all humanity originated from Africa!” said Oana GiraAmata, a dance instructor.
“The ASA culture show has been an opportunity for me to learn more about the diversity and beauty that is found within Africa. The show celebrates difference as a strength and avenue to explore similarities that we also share across the various ethnic backgrounds of participants in the show. I have been in the show these past two years, and as I go into my senior year, I look forward to being able to experience another culture show,” said Sharae Franklin, Education junior.
“I wish I would have taken the initiative to be a part of ASA my freshman year so I could’ve had four years of being a part of such a wonderful community. To me, ASA is a space where I can truly be myself, learn about my heritage, and meet others that also share my love for jollof rice and fried plantains. Nigerian jollof rice, that is,” said Paul E. F. Akande, Engineering senior.
“ASA to me means knowledge and revelation. Knowledge about the beautiful culture that comes from Africa. Being in ASA has helped to rewire my psyche and dismantle some of the internal stereotypes that were placed upon me, and many others, by society. Being a member exposed me to various African dishes — my favorite being jollof — and African contemporary music, aspects of African culture that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. I now greatly desire to travel to Africa and uncover some more wonderful African culture. ASA also means community and friendship. I treasure the many relationships that I have built. Those in this organization are some of the most genuine, funny and talented people that I have ever met,” said Ethan Parker, LSA sophomore.
“ASA means the world to me. I’ve found people who understand me and who I can share my love of African culture with. ASA values educating and reaching the larger campus community about African culture, which is very important. My favorite event by far was the annual culture show. This year, I had the privilege to model in the fashion show. I had never modeled before, but it was such a great first experience! My friends without any ties to the African continent attended the culture show, and I was beaming with pride over the show we put together. Busting African myths in positive and engaging ways is what ASA is all about. I’m so glad I stopped by the ASA table in crowded FestiFall as a freshman because it’s made my Michigan experience special,” said Oluwatosin Adeyemi, LSA freshman.
“I see ASA as a community of people that are passionate about their African heritage and that want to be surrounded by other Africans and ultimately educate people on its rich culture. The culture show is definitely my favorite event because the members educate the audience about the African culture through clothing, informational videos and live performances,” said Kingsley Enechukwu, LSA freshman.
At the end of the day, ASA provides a space for non-African and African students alike to celebrate the rich history of Africa.