By Somed Shahadu
Local African students danced and played music on Saturday night at the 25th annual Africa Night. They celebrated Africa’s different cultures at the Cunard Centre on the Halifax waterfront.
The theme of the evening was “A New Face of Africa.”
Students from all over Africa walked the runway in traditional and contemporary African clothing, and performed the traditional dances of their various ethnic groups.
The African students’ societies at Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities led the city’s African students in the organization of the event, which was sponsored by the African Diaspora Association of the Maritimes.
Africa Night showcased African culture through dance, music, fashion and art. It also recognized the recent strides the continent has made towards good governance and democracy.
“Right now, I feel like I’m back in Africa,” says Luc Nshuti, a Dalhousie student from Congo. He hasn’t visited his home country in almost five years. “It is amazing to be here and seeing all these performances again.”
“This is special,” he says. “The main thing is that it has brought people together not only from Africa but people from here in Canada and other places.”
McFarlane Njor, one of the students who organized the event, was particularly impressed with the significance of the theme chosen for Africa Night.
“We want to express what we feel is the true Africa,” he says. “There are still lingering stereotypes and negative perceptions about Africa that we are not comfortable with. This gives us the right platform to showcase our rich culture and to show to the world that we all have the same hunger and desire.”
Like many other participants, Njor said Africa Night is rewarding.
“It gives us home, it gives us a family,” he says. “We are away from our families and away from the culture in which we were born and raised.”
“It’s a good feeling to have all these people around. It brings back those ties you miss.”