Africa Week aims to celebrate African culture on campus
The African Students Association of Madison started Africa Week, a week of African culture celebration, by serving authentic food at the Center for Cultural Enrichment in Witte Residence Hall.Image By: Jon Yoon
Students experienced African culture with authentic food at the annual "Taste of Africa" event hosted by the African Students Association of Madison Monday.
The event kicked off Africa Week, which takes place Nov. 7-11. It involves a variety of events each day to recognize African culture on UW-Madison’s campus.
Co-President of ASA Charles Fatunbi said he believes it is important to engage the campus and community in better understanding different cultures within the university.
“A lot of students of African descent or culture don’t feel like this campus is really a home for them,” Fatunbi said. “So it’s important to have events like these so they can enjoy culture away from the chaos going on.”
Fatunbi was raised in Minnesota by his parents from Nigeria, who instilled much of their African culture in his upbringing. He believes creating a familiar space for students is a big goal of ASA.
“Bringing the culture with me was something I felt was important, especially for students who are also in my same position, who feel like the tradition and things they’re so used to are not with them on campus,” Fatunbi said. “Bringing food and music that remind them of home and creating a community is what the ultimate goal is for students.”
Fifth-year member of ASA and Multicultural Board Representative Kevin Bannerman felt it was important to get involved after seeing the stereotypes portrayed in U.S. media while growing up in Ghana.
“The environment made me feel like I was at home and I also like the idea of spreading African culture and debunking what the stereotypes are,” Bannerman said. “The organization is helpful for letting people realize what African culture is all about and that’s something that really made me want to join.”
Activities taking place during Africa Week include a bead and jewelry making night, “Capture Your Culture” photoshoot and a Zumba dance workshop with the UW-Madison Afro-Caribbean dance team, Rootz.
“Especially with everything at the stadium, just everything that’s going on it’s important to fight for what you believe in and always express your opinion,” Fatunbi said. “But also have time for yourself to relax and enjoy yourself because at the end of the day we are students and we are all here for the same purpose.”