African Student Association Hosts African Culture Night


Nathaniel Olsen, Contributing Director

On May 6, OSU students gathered inside the Memorial Union Ballroom to enjoy traditional Ghanaian and Ugandan dances, skits, activities and food from across the African diaspora. That night, the ballroom was transformed. Flags, tinsel and ear to ear smiles made this event a comfortable space for powerful conversation and community.

The African Student Association’s theme for its yearly African Night: Afrofuturism. African Night is a yearly showcase of the beauty of African culture. For Henrietta Rutaremwa, vice president of ASA, “The future is now. We are the future…With that being said, how do we still connect our history and roots to now? How do we still keep alive even if it’s the past? How do we integrate the future?”

Faisal Osman, the ASA’s event coordinator, said that the ASA is important because all identities, especially underrepresented groups, need affinity spaces on campus where they can just be themselves. 

“As Black students we might oftentimes feel like we don’t belong or are or that there is not a community for us, but ASA has shown me the opposite. It is a space for us to just be in community, to decompress and learn from each other,” Osman said.

The night was capped off by a fashion show that celebrated afrofuturism in fashion. Marvel’s Black Panther amongst other cultural references points from across the Pan-African diaspora served as inspiration for what ASA President Michelle Wambui said was her “favorite part of the night.”  

As ASA looks towards the future they “are planning to have more events that are tailored to celebrating African culture and have it open to the general public”, says Wambui.

“I think across campus it can be seen in the smallest ways just having people be more open minded when interacting with each other,” said Rutaremwa. “Creating an open space to learn from each other and not put someone in a box immediately [when] you see them. But more importantly allowing more cultural events to come to life and actually have the campus community become involved.”

If you are interested in participating in ASA, they meet at 5 p.m. every Friday at the Lonnie B Harris Center.

“We are more than just a perspective that was unknowingly painted for us; We are indeed a brighter and more intelligent future,” said Rutaremwa.

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