Existing on Campus Vol.4 – Afrofest Edition

Afrofest has been taking place at the C.A.W Student Centre since the beginning of the week, celebrating the amazing and vibrant culture of the people of Africa and the Caribbean. You may have seen the posters around the school and online promoting Afrofest and it’s week’s worth of events. For this series, The Lance decided to let our readers get to know the people on the posters that you have been seeing around the school and what Afrofest means to them.

1
ASHLEY YEBOAH // FOURTH YEAR // SOCIAL AND FAMILY RELATIONS

What is your background?
I am Ghanaian and American.

What does culture mean to you?
Culture is how individuals in a specific place and time period connect with one another through art, events, music, fashion, and writing.

Why is it important to celebrate and educate people on culture?
It is important to educate people on culture because it allows us to connect to something bigger than ourselves. A shared experience, if you will. This helps us not to feel so alone in the world.

How do you feel about how Africa is represented in the media?
I feel that Africa is not always portrayed correctly in Media, but there have been shows and movies made recently that showcase Black people in a positive light. An example of this is Rosewoood, a show set in Miami about an exceptional pathologist, played by Morris Chesnut. I personally love this show, but for women, it's not enough to put us on TV.  We need proper and relatable representation. And as I write this, I recall shows like Insecure, which has a mainly black cast and relatable characters. Yet these shows I mentioned do not represent AFRICA or any of its countries directly. I guess there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
What does Afrofest mean to you?
Afrofest means the world to me. I have been a part of the festival for three years, two of which I was on the planning team. It is a chance for us all to come together for whatever reasons like education, dance, fashion, or just relaxation. I especially enjoy the events where we get to share our experiences. Most of us don't talk about how we feel, so this event is a great space for things we don't see or get to experience every day.
Tell me one quote from your favourite black politician, celebrity, artist or public figure. 
 "When I feel worthy to receive, the universe opens up to me. I am a wide open vessel, I'll never live a day in vain. " - Georgia Anne Muldrow

2
DZIFA AFAGENU // THIRD YEAR // SOCIAL WORK

What is your background?
I am from Ghana.

What does culture mean to you?

Culture, to me, is all about identity. Who I am was born from my culture.

Why is it important to celebrate and educate people on culture? 

It is important to celebrate and educate people on culture because it's important to know and understand people's history. Black people have overcome a lot of challenges and it's important to celebrate how far we've come, our achievements, and our freedom.

How do you feel about how Africa is represented in the media?

I think Africa is only represented in the media when there is a crisis. Although it's important to spread awareness of the horrible things happening, the media should show the beauty of Africa also.

Tell me one quote from your favourite black politician, celebrity, artist or public figure.

"You can murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder." Martin Luther King

3
PAULA AJALA-ALEXIS // THIRD YEAR // POLITICAL SCIENCE DOUBLE MINOR IN PHILOSOPHY AND WOMEN'S STUDIES

What is your background?

I'm Nigerian but was born and raised in Canada.

What does culture mean to you?

Culture means to me traditions from the past, changed and sculpted to fit each generation that practices it. It's a word that to me can be synonymous with community. My culture involves the people who practice it alongside me and shape it just as I do.

Why is it important to celebrate and educate people on culture? 

I think it's important because it allows us to begin to understand each other. If you educate me on your culture you have given me an insight I could not have gathered myself.

How do you feel about how Africa is represented in the media?

I feel like the media has done a trash job for a long time. The media usually look down on Africa, portraying it like they do Native people; in their 'primitive state', misleading the public to believe that is all there is to know about the plethora of African cultures.

What does Afrofest mean to you?

It means that black people finally get to be in the centre. They get to be the main topic of conversation, not the side note. This also allows those who have not had a chance to educate themselves on the African diaspora, that chance. It means that we as a Windsor community can have a healthy exchange of culture and a bit of understanding.

Tell me one quote from your favourite black politician, celebrity, artist or public figure.

"We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society." - Angela Davis

4
OPEYEMI NATHAN SANNI // GRADUATED

What is your background?

I'm Nigerian.

What does culture mean to you?

Culture is many things. It is the things we do because our parents said we're supposed to do them. Culture is traditions passed down from previous versions of ourselves so we do not forget who we are.

Why is it important to celebrate and educate people on culture? 

I think it's important to celebrate culture because it reminds us of who we are, and who we were before we were even born. It helps in grounding us.

How do you feel about how Africa is represented in the media?

I think the way we are represented in the media is a reflection of the media itself. The media is the eye of the people and it seems like it sees what it wants to instead of what things actually are.

What does Afrofest mean to you?

It is a good way to unwind from school and also gain insight into a culture that is not often spoken about - in the most accurate light - within the western educational system.

Tell me one quote from your favourite black politician, celebrity, artist or public figure.

"My people are scared of the air around them, so they always have a reason to fight for freedom." - Fela Kuti

5
KADRINE LEE TAYLOR // FOURTH YEAR // INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

What is your background?

I'm Jamaican.

What does culture mean to you?

Culture means identity practices, as well as cleavage. Culture is important to me because it defines who I am.

Why is it important to celebrate and educate people on culture? 

I find that people often misrepresent and stereotype others based on culture, so for that reason, it is necessary to educate people on the importance of it.

How do you feel about how Africa is represented in the media?

The media paints a picture of Africa as a poverty-stricken "country"  filled with terrorist groups and corrupt leaders. It's important to educate before casting blanket statements.

What does Afrofest mean to you?

To me it makes me feel really good to know that awareness and education on the diversity of black culture is being spread. As well as black students discussing certain topics that they may not have come across. Any setting that has open dialogue and discussion is important so I'm happy Afrofest exists.

Tell me one quote from your favourite black politician, celebrity, artist or public figure.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King

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