Augustana celebrates African cultures with Afro Fest

Katherine Hogan

On the night of April 13, Augustana’s African Student Association (ASA) held the second annual AfroFest.  Overall, ASA is a student group that strives to bring people together and share the culture of Africa. AfroFest is an event aimed at achieving this goal.

The theme of this year’s AfroFest was royalty, and the event had several performances including dances, poetry readings, rap performances and other African songs.  AfroFest also served food from several different African countries including Ghana and Ethiopia.

Jessica Beyer, a junior, attended AfroFest this year as well as last year.

“A lot of my friends are actually involved in ASA so I know they put a lot of time and effort into this event. I came to support them,” Beyers said.

Beyer mentions is that she feels that this year had more performances and ASA has expanded on what they did last year which she appreciates.

Leoul Gezu, first-year and member of the Black Student Union (BSU), volunteered at AfroFest.

“When one of the [African associated organizations] has an event, we are all here. We are all helping out,” Gezu said.

Gezu says that no email was sent out to BSU specifically asking for volunteers, but BSU members heard about AfroFest and came to help out.

“BSU and ASA are basically just a family torn apart, that’s all it is.  We are all from the same place. We are all from Africa, but we have different cultures and have experienced different lives, Gezu said.  “But at the end of the day, we are all from the same place.”

Rachel Boakye, a junior, is the current president of ASA.

“I love ASA and I am glad that everything is going great. ASA has had a really great impact on me and also for African students on this campus,” Boakye said.

“There are not a lot of African students here, so it is very significant for Africans to show what Africa is about. This is the one chance we may have to express our culture to people,” Boakye said.

As the president of ASA, Boakye was a big part of this year’s AfroFest by adding more local and student interaction..

“Last year, our theme was very specific, but this year our theme is broader–it is royalty.  Also, this year we have more diversity,” Boakye said.

Boakye also implemented an activity called “African Weekend” where guests from the community were invited to come and do workshops relating to African culture.

“[AfroFest] was a struggle to get together but worth it,” Boakye said.

ASA is thankful to SGA who gave them funding for the event as well as MPB so that they could put on this event.