African Students Association hosts annual Africa Week
African Students Association began its annual Africa Week in celebration of Africa and African culture Oct. 29.
The week-long event—featuring a dance workshop, a dinner featuring authentic African cuisine and a pop-up marketplace—is set to conclude Friday, Nov. 2 with a flash mob outside of the Danforth University Center.
According to African Student Association (ASA) Co-president Chibueze Agwu, Africa Week is a reflection of ASA’s purpose as an organization.
“Our goal as a club is to provide a place for people to learn about African culture. Africa Week is [essentially] the apex of that,” Agwu said. “It really stresses diversity and education. We have different events all five days geared toward different aspects that we think are important.”
“From the moment I walked in, I loved the ambiance,” sophomore Candace Hayes, who attended Africa Week’s marketplace event Wednesday night, said. “I loved the smell of the shea butters and the soaps that made me think of home and products my mom and grandma would use.”
Sophomore Andrea Chambers, who also attended the marketplace event, said that Africa Week has introduced elements of African culture to students at Washington University.
“I believe that it exposed students of all backgrounds and different cultures of Africa. It gives us the ability and opportunity to learn more about African cultures as well as appreciate the beauty of different items,” Chambers said.
For the marketplace event, ASA brought brought African goods from the St. Louis community onto campus.
“It was [essentially] a simulation of an African marketplace. We brought in a lot of small businesses from the St. Louis area. They’re vendors; so, they sold their baked goods, cocoa butter, shea butter, different cloths, headwraps, sculptures—that kind of stuff,” Agwu said.
Hayes also appreciated the chance to celebrate her culture by attending the ASA events.
“I was just so grateful that an event like this was happening on campus so I could have a little taste of my heritage and ancestry while I was here,” Hayes said. “Events like this are so great because I didn’t grow up with African culture and African cuisine in my home; so, I still get to learn so much and be exposed to different cultures and ways of life through the events the African Students Association is putting on.”