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All is set for the 19th edition of African Night

Chair of the Marketing and Programs committee of the African Students Organization Stephanie Sarpong has disclosed to The Lode that all is set for the 2019 African Night showdown. Sarpong said that “this year’s African Night is slated for Saturday, February 23, 2019, 7-9 p.m. at the MUB ballroom on campus. Tickets are already on sale. Contact our department representatives on campus for tickets or contact us at We have invited performers from Columbus, Ohio. We have procured African drums and other instruments such as axatse and gankogui for a special student performance on the night.”

According to Sarpong, “2019 African Night will feature Goree Drum and Dance from Columbus, Ohio.” Established in 2009 under the musical direction of Balla Sy and the dance direction of Serrita Sy, Goree combines Sene-Gambian dance traditions, a genre of dances from the ancient western Sudanese empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, with contemporary West African dance traditions in symbolic storytelling. “Last summer, they were on an educational pilgrimage to the Sene-Gambian region. We expect from them the latest dance choreographies and throbbing drum rhythms” Sarpong remarked.

A second special performance will be staged by members of the African Students Organization. It is called Jama. According to Alfred Owusu-Ansah, lead vocalist in this performance, “Jama is a youth performance that combines eclectic drum sounds with hand clapping, cyclic movements and singing.” It is popularly performed in high schools and universities in Western and Central parts of Africa, especially during sporting events. He continued, “It has a call and response structure that electrifies its participants and seeks to transfer energy from the singers to the athletes and spectators. During African Night, we won’t just perform Jama; the audience will feel the irresistible urge to join in the Jama.” Owusu-Ansah concluded, “All audience members are expected to become part of the performance in a quintessential African total theatre experience.”

In addition to the performances, the night will feature food and drinks from continental Africa. Leader of the Food Committee Munkaila Musah said “there will be a dinner featuring sumptuous African dishes mainly from East, Central, West and Southern Africa.” These will include “egusi soup, vegetable fried rice, peppered gizzards, zobo juice and tropical fruits smoothie,” Musa reported.

Other activities on the program, according to the Vice President of the organization, Maria Paula Kwesiga include “music, fashion, poetry, and presentations. The dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Pushpa Murthy, is one of the special guests for the night.”

African Night is an event held annually since 2001 by the African Students’ Organization (ASO) to celebrate the diversity of the African continent, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. It is an occasion to showcase the cultures and traditions of the different nations in Africa, the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. This is the 19th edition. It is an exceptional opportunity for our members, the Michigan Tech community and the entire Houghton and Hancock communities to have a glance at the rich cultural heritage of the African world as portrayed by Africans in the Upper Peninsula.

There are about forty members of the African Students Organization and they come from about fifteen countries including Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial-Guinea, Ghana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South-Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

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