African Awareness Week 2014

by Michael Mutiso and Nishat Tasnim | April 10, 2014
UBC Okanagan International Scholars African Awareness Week

“Knowledge is like the baobab tree: no one individual can embrace it.” — Ghanaian Proverb

At UBC’s Okanagan campus, there is a tradition of creating learning communities for students to teach, reimagine, and expand their ideas about the world. African Awareness Week is one such opportunity.

African Awareness Week is an annual celebration and exploration of Africa. It showcases the diversity of life and culture on the African continent and offers insights that differ from the disease- and poverty-ridden images in the popular media.

55 shades of Africa

This year’s theme was “55 shades of Africa.” Among the events were a cooking session where students and other guests enjoyed African dishes, a lively soccer tournament, a student-led discussion of the political and economic progress made by African countries — and possible ways of overcoming them. The end-of-week gala featured keynote speaker Dr. J. S. Kofi Gbolonyo, a visiting faculty member at UBC, who is a Ghanaian musician and educator. Dr. Gbolonyo discussed Africa’s diverse vegetation, landscape, language, skin color, culture, and religion. He delved into the etymological origins of the name “Africa” and discussed how the meaning changes according to context.

Delicious food, beautiful music and soulful dances followed. In the end, the audience was reminded of the philosophy of Ubuntu: “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”

International Scholar involvement

African Awareness Week is organized by International Programs and Services team and members of the African Students Club. Internationals Scholars have been passionately involved with this event. For instance, African Awareness Week 2013 was led by Omar Mwangari, and Michael Mutiso hosted the opening ceremony. This year, Nene Azu performed during the Gala Night.

Africa Awareness Week was a wonderful celebration for all our International Scholars, and for all members of the UBC Okanagan community.