Diversity Made in Afrika

Madeleine Smith, Multimedia Contributor

The African Student Association (ASA) put on a cultural event called ‘Made in Afrika’ celebrating the diversity of the students within ASA, and representing the range of nationalities from the African continent.

To start off the event, the MCs of the night invited audience members onstage to join in a dance, immediately warming up the crowd and bringing up the energy. Throughout the night, vibrant performances took the stage one after another.

The showcase included multiple dances, including ones from Ethiopia and West Africa. A drumming group from Eugene performed with rhythms and stunts. Even a live cheetah made an appearance. To finish the night, clothing designs from dozens of countries were displayed in a fashion show.

The last time this event happened was four years ago. Sol Dressa, the treasurer of the ASA who worked with the rest of the board to coordinate the performances, food and decorations, explained the process of starting the event up again.

“We have a diverse bunch within our African Student Association,” Dressa said. “So we decided to incorporate those cultures, as well as cultures that people often have misconceptions about.”

Kiminta Vernier and Lea Mannari, two international students from France, are members of the ASA who made a video to help with the educational aspect of the event. Through interviews, members of ASA explained the purpose of the association and shed light on different cultures from Africa, with a specific section depicting ‘What Africa is NOT.’

“(The purpose of the event was) to show you what the media never shows you about Africa,” Vernier said.

Hawi Hussen, a sophomore and president of the ASA, not only planned the event, but performed multiple dances. She explained the challenge of representing such a wide range of cultures.

“We are actually having trouble—we don’t have as much from the south and the north of Africa, and we were having trouble representing all of them,” Hussen said. “So we have to come up in different ways, different ideas, like, if they cannot perform, maybe we should include them in the fashion show.”

Ben Wilson, a roommate of ASA members, described how he felt coming to Made in Afrika.

“I think what actually I really enjoyed the most was the fashion show,” Wilson said, amazed by the variety of clothing, with both more traditional and more modern styles.

Dressa shared her vision for the event.

“We hope that this kind of cultural show can bring more African students, and those that are interested in topics associated with Africa, so they can come out to our organization here,” Dressa said.