By CAMERON BOLTON
The African and Caribbean Students Association held its annual Africa Night on April 6 in the Upper Levels of Olmstead. The theme for the event was ‘securing the crown’ and it was hosted by Ricky Mathai.
“Africa night happens on every campus around the nation, almost every campus. It’s a night kind of where African students get to celebrate their culture and also share their culture with other people,” said ACSA President Ayana Anderson, a senior majoring in news and law politics with a minor in economics. The ACSA hasn’t had a lot of records kept, according to Anderson, so she was unable to say exactly how long Africa Night has been happening at Drake. However, Anderson estimates that it’s been at least 20 years.
“The turnout was pretty good. We didn’t fill the whole hall, trying to hit 300, but I think we hit around 200 or so people come through, so I’m really happy about the turnout,” said Anderson.
According to Anderson, there is no singular theme running across all the campuses that hold Africa Nights. The theme is left to each individual college to be picked. The reason why the ACSA board selected the current theme was because they really wanted to highlight the pan Africanism and the excellence in Africa At first it was going to be ‘royalty,’ but then Iowa State University also did ‘royalty,’ so they altered it slightly.
“I hope that they got out—so, the theme was securing the crown, so I hope they got out that there are crowns in Africa. Because I think a lot of people think of Africa as third world countries and kids are starving, but there’s jewels and crowns there and kings and queens there to,” said Anderson.
The event saw many performances such as a fashion show, speeches, poems, singing, dancing and drumming. In the middle of the night there was also an intermission for the attendees to receive dinner.
“I think honestly it was just a moment where everybody could just have fun and be free and dance along or sing along if they wanted to. It was just a moment where you could yourself no matter what,” said Madyson Sklar, a first year sociology major, who attended the event with her sister as part of siblings weekend. Skar also said that she thought the most important part of the event was honoring everybody’s culture.
“Honestly, because Drake University does not always do that all the time so it’s just a moment where you could go and you’d be honored, you’d be respected, you’d be looked at as one person, as a person of yourself and we don’t get that every day as people of color on campus.” said Skar.
Normally, the presenters would hand out certificates for various achievements during the event. This year, however, they handed out crowns in order to fit the theme. The categories were volunteer award of the year, participation of the year, lifetime achievement award, choreographer of the year, the watch out award, and faculty advisor.
Photo courtesy of ACSA