African Showcase highlights continent’s cultural diversity
By Jourdan Cohen
Feb. 16, 2011 WALTHAM, Mass.–Brandeis International Business School students gathered at the World Court recently to celebrate Africa. The evening highlighted various aspects of African culture including music, dance, and fashion. Various African flags, pottery, and crafts were displayed throughout the space, and a special “Chief’s Chair” was provided for Associate Dean F. Trenery Dolbear, Jr., from which he presided over the evening’s events.
Africa is a continent composed of over 50 individual territories and one billion people, and the event aimed to celebrate the many facets of Africa’s varied cultures. Students performed in a fashion show and dance number which displayed garments and dance moves from all over the continent, and attendees had a chance to sample traditional African cuisine from multiple regions, including cassava (a root vegetable) and fried plantains from East Africa, cod fish with potatoes and whipping cream from Central Africa, and poff poff, a small pastry-pancake, from the West.
The International Business School is dedicated to celebrating the cultures of its students, who hail from all over the world. Twenty-eight students at IBS come from the continent of Africa, including Angela Zeleza MAief ‘11, from Malawi and one of the student organizers for the showcase. “As an African who appreciates and values my roots, and now a student in such a diverse environment, I felt very strongly that I have something that I would want to share about Africa with the rest of the community,” she remarked.
Other students involved in the event included Sonia Gisenya MBA ’11 of Rwanda, and Progress Pizulu MAief ’11, from Zambia. “I believe I am an ambassador for our people back home in Africa. We are representing them here in the USA. As students from Africa, I feel it is our responsibility to educate people from other continents about African business opportunities, fashion, food and other aspects of our culture,” said Pizulu. Gisenya added, “Africa is so wide and has a very diverse culture - it's really hard to represent everything in a two hour event. Our aim therefore is to briefly give an overview of what we are about - arouse interest then have people go out wanting to know more.”