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Africa Night 2017: Doing It for the Culture

This past weekend (February 24-25, 2017) the Africa Student Union put on their annual Africa Night. Africa Night is dedicated to celebrate and showcase African history, traditions and culture. Africa Night production includes a play, dance, and a fashion show wrapped into one whole production. The ASU has been working on Africa Night since last semester back in October. Performing in Africa Night has very special reasons for many of their performers.  Senior Manny Elsar, who was a dancer and extra, says “it’s an honor” to participate in the organization’s biggest event of the year.  Sheweat Laine, a freshman who played Princess Zoya and performed as a dancer, tells me that her reason for participating was for her country Eritera to be represented more. ASU’s hard worked has paid off for sure as both nights of the production sold out by the time the production had rolled around.

                         Source: UGA Africa Student Union

This year’s production was titled The Mark of RedemptionThe Mark of Redemption tells the story of two African tribes: the Himsai and the Ekeri. The main difference between these two tribes is that the Himsai tribe is considered the marked tribe for having white markings on their face, while the Ekeri tribe has no markings on their skin. Throughout the play, the tension between the two tribes grow as the forbidden love between Princess Efua (played by second year student Eseoghene Keniye) of the Himsai tribe and Prince Kojo (played by first year student Ade Afon) of the Ekeri tribe leads to their two tribes heading to war. The play covers many topics such as self love, being accepted, going against the status quoe, and feminism, just to touch on a few.  The play even made references to current pop culture such as “Doing it for the culture,” “DMS”, and “Salty Bae.” The play had the audience laughing, crying, in shock, and clapping at all the right parts in the show. Who wasn’t clapping for Queen Selena (played by third year Chinelo Egbosiuba) when she stood up to her husband? Pure #BlackGirlMagic in that moment?

Within the play were four dances (both modern and traditional) and a fashion show after intermission. The dancers were amazing to watch and I wanted to see more (no wonder why ASU has a winning dance team who recently placed first place back in October at UWG dance competition). When freshman dancer Justin Osondu was asked whether he was nervous before dancing for the big crowd, he responded: “Before every dance there is a little nervousness, but after doing it so much the nervousness soon turns into excitement.” The fashion show had included many looks from all over different regions of Africa. Michelle Igboneje-Asor, one of the show’s fashion show coordinators, tells me that she jumped on board because she wanted to help showcase the many beauties and styles her culture has to offer. “We usually only include western styles from previous years but this year, we wanted to try something different,” Igboneje-Asor says. And the audience had loved every second of the fashion show. I know I had thrown out a few “You better slay” exclamations during each section. Most of the models look like they have been modeling for a while instead of a few months. Second year Morgan Palmer says she shook the jitters off when it was time for her to walk: “It is such a blessing to have been chosen to participate in this year’s show.” 

The audience had positively responded to the production as a whole, and wasn’t afraid to tell social media how they felt.

Overall, Africa Night 2017 was great and we can’t wait to see how they are going to top this one next year!

Hey y'all. My name is Jayda Hill and I am currently a student at the University of Georgia trying to navigate adulting. I am Advertising major with a minor in Sports Management and a certificate in New Media. Besides writing, I enjoy laughing with friends, eating at my favorite places, reading, watching college football, movies, Youtube videos, and shows on Hulu and Netflix. I can't wait to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw with Her Campus UGA.
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