VSU students were able to break the stereotypes with the African Student Association on Friday night.
Over 250 students attended the African Student Association’s first annual African Night. African Night showcased different traditions and showcased Africa’s western countries. The event began with a video which showed negative connotations about Africa like war, AIDS and corruption.
ASA’s President Iye Kargbo , who is from Sierra Leone, explained that the media tends to have negative views of Africa and the video was meant to show some of the other parts of Africa. She also explained that stereotypes played into the creation of African Night. “If no one is talking good about you, you have to let the world know,” Kargbo said. The video afterward showed famous Nollywood actors and actresses and famous landmarks in Nigeria.
The night continued with playful dialogue between the show’s two hosts, Kargbo and Sonny Adekweh. The hosts joked and discussed some of the history behind the group. African American Student Association is a national group that was created in order to promote unity and support among African student groups and campuses across the United States.
There are a total of seven ASA organizations across Georgia, including groups at UGA, Georgia Southern and Savannah State. It reached VSU in 2006, but had a short two year hiatus in 2008. The group returned in 2010, and has been under Kargbo’s leadership since fall 2010.
Adewkweh,a junior nursing and medicine major, was happy with the large turnout of the event. “It was special, nothing like this has happened before,” Adewkeh said. “There were a lot more people peeking in, because they couldn’t fit in the room.”
Adewkeh, who is from Nigeria, was also pleased with the interest in African culture by the audience. “It’s good to see the native things, and to put something out that presented our culture,” he said. “People want to actually learn more about Africa and the culture.”
The theme of African Night included destroying stereotypes and raising awareness. Poets from the Deep Release Society performed pieces about stereotypes including an imagery poem about a slave traveling to America in a slave ship.
Next, was a segment called ”The Power of Knowledge” that included Paul Rosemond, sophomore business major, and Keyana Taylor, a Valdosta High School student. Rosemond discussed with the audience the power of understanding cultures of others and your own. “If you don’t keep up with your traditions you will eventually forget what they are,” Rosemond said. “Forgetting your traditions will distance you away from who you are.”