The eighth annual Africa Awareness Week was held, once again exposing members of the BSU community to the stories, music and cultures of the continent.
Dr. Sandra Faiman-Silva, one of the coordinators of the week-long celebration and professor and chairperson of the anthropology department, said she hopes exposure to Africa and its people will move students to want to know and experience more.
“We hope that by participating in Africa Awareness Week events students will increase their interest in this world region, consider travelling to Africa on a study tour or study abroad program, become global ambassadors, and seek more information about Africa, its history, culture, and people,” she said.
Africa Awareness Week was initiated by Dr. Faiman-Silva and her department colleague Dr. Louise Badiane to teach students about a continent not always given enough exposure in American schools. Africa is a highly diverse continent, including 55 separate countries, and Dr. Faiman-Silva said the events of the week introduce students to many aspects of African culture and practices. The schedule included lectures and activities; a photo exhibit, celebrating South Africa, its people, landmarks and wildlife; a tribute to Nelson Mandela; “Africa Through Map,” which was an interactive teaching session with large floor map of the continent.
Of the many musical events, “More than Just Drumming: Sabar as a Window into Senegalese Culture” featured a lecture and performance by Dr. Patricia Tang, Ethnomusicologist at MIT.
She opened with a musical blessing, which she played on a Senegalese drum. “I thought it would be a nice way to open today’s event,” she said..
The lecture focused on Senegalese drumming and its relation to African culture. This is an unusual drum, Dr. Tang explained, because requires one hand and one stick to play. It is originally from the 14th century.
The events of Africa Awareness Week always include fun, interactive activities and lectures about important issues facing the continent. The hope is to help students get to know the real Africa.
“We seek to dispel myths and mis-conceptions about Africa, its many nations and peoples,” said Dr. Faiman-Silva.
Africa Awareness Week was sponsored by the departments of anthropology, art, elementary education, geography, history, music, social work, sociology, theater and dance, and African studies. (Story by Caitlin Seddon, video and photos by the student staff of University News)
Scenes from the eighth annual Africa Awareness Week: