Pittsburg State University students and Pittsburg community members will have the opportunity to experience African culture at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 5. The African Student Association (ASA) will host an ‘African Culture Night’, which is a celebration of African culture.
“Everybody is proud of their culture,” said Rigo Osée Michael Brou, graduate student in science technology and president of the ASA. “We came all the way over here to learn about the American culture and other culture, so we want to share our culture with other people too.”
The purpose, according to Brou, is to give a glimpse into African culture, both traditional culture and modern traditions.
“… We are going to promote the African culture (and) give some details about African stories like in the past and give some details about the traditional way in Africa, different tribes, and also give the modern tradition of Africa,” Brou said.
From Pitt State, there will be around eight countries represented including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, and South Africa.
The night will include a variety of performances to showcase the various cultures of African countries, as well as food for attendees to try.
“We are going to have dance, skit, and food too, so people can taste the food,” Brou said.
Alonzo Zimucha, sophomore in psychology, will be participating in some of the dances for the event. He said there will be a variety of styles of dances performed at the event,
“… One of our dances will be a bit more traditional and one will be more contemporary,” Zimucha said.
Zimucha said he has been practicing for around two weeks and hopes those who attend can witness “how fun being an African can be and the vibes that you can get from the dances and stuff.”
According to Brou, a lot of work has gone into planning the event.
“We have been doing a lot of practicing for the dance,” Brou said. “We have been promoting for other people who are not African to do the dance… we are practicing almost every night for the dancing and the skits and we have to get ready for the cooking too. They have some things in Oklahoma, so we need to go back and forth to get the food. We also do the marketing to get alumni who were here before living in the states to bring them, so we can have a lot of Africans.”
Through the ASA’s marketing, Brou said that although there are only 18 African students at PSU there will be around “100 Africans to come from other schools and people that graduate already that can come.”
Another goal of the night is to change the perception people may have of Africa.
“The African culture is not promoted much here, so we want to bring it here,” Brou said. “Compared to big schools… they have a big community of Africans and we don’t have that here, so we try to promote that and bring more African students here. Some people don’t know about the African culture, some of them they ask me ‘Are you from Africa- are you living in the tree? How did you came here?’ so we want to show them everything we have got the videos, pictures, and tell them like we civilized too.”
Zimucha said that those who attend should “expect to have your conceptions on Africa changed.”
Stephen Harmon, professor of history and advisor of the ASA, said he believes the event will be beneficial for those who attend to broaden their outlook on the world.
“… That’s one of the main reasons we encourage international students to come here so that our regular Kansas kids can be exposed to other cultures without necessarily going all the way there,” Harmon said. “I think it’s good for Kansas to get some additional exposure and I think this is one way to do it as it takes advantage of our… students here and I think it’s good if it can help get some of our kids here exposed to some different ideas… it helps broaden your outlook.”
Harmon said that although he has not worked with the current ASA group very long, what he has seen of their presentation thus far “…tells me that they’ve worked hard on this and I have every reason to expect it will be a worthwhile event.”
Tickets are $5 and will include watching the performances which will be from 5 to 7 p.m. and the food tasting which will be from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Wilkinson Alumni Center. Tickets can be purchased from the international office and the office of student diversity.
“They will see things they never seen before,” Brou said. “We are going to do some things that are original and things people don’t see on internet. We are investing a lot, we even ordered some things from Africa that people can see. There are going to be a lot of surprise.