Umoja, this year’s title for Africana night, was held in the West Plaza outside D1. Evoking the event’s title’s – unity in Swahili – the plaza was filled with stalls that each had artifacts and food from many different African countries.
Cynthia Mulindi, Class of 2018, said that one of the main goals of Africana night was to educate people about the misconceptions they may have about African countries and African people.
“[We] try and show that we’re all different and that we’re not from the same culture. Different people get to know a little about the countries that are represented,” said Mulindi.
According to Trenuen Maria Natasha, Class of 2020, Umoja’s goals were met.
“My favorite moments were the stalls, because people were able to talk about their countries and through this you get to learn how different countries are in their cultures, but also how in the differences you are able to appreciate the continents diversity and challenge certain stereotypes,” said Natasha.
In addition to NYU Abu Dhabi students, various dignitaries from the embassies of the represented countries, as well as students from Paris Sorbonne and individuals from the Somali Center attended.
Discussing the various dignitaries at the event, Mulindi explained that Africa Global asks students from varying countries to contact their respective embassies and invite their envoys.
“If they come, they already know the students. When they come, we usually have a team member receive them,” said Mulindi
Guests and students were also presented with a pamphlet that described all the food items on the menu. The menu consisted of dishes that were served at previous Africana nights and were mostly East African.
“We thought it would be nice to everyone who comes to see how they made the food and if they wanted to refer to it in the future” Mulindi said.
The night opened with a video where students explained what Africa means to them. Throughout the night, there were a variety of performances, including drumming, dancing, singing, poetry recitation, a fashion show and even a dance workshop.
In one of the highlights of the evening, guests from the Somali Center took part in the fashion show and dance performance. Students choreographed the various dances which included pair dances and group dances that depicted different dance styles from a variety of countries.
After the Kizumba dance performance, the performers led a dance workshop that invited viewers to come up and join them on the stage. As usual, the official event ended with a group dance performance.
Music blasted over the speakers for a few hours after the official conclusion of the event as everyone came together on the dance floor.
Thirangie Jayatilake is Features Editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.