The pounding of drums fills the Michigan Theater. Traditional acrobats in animal skins take the stage, introduced by an energetic Nigerian comedian named Foxy P. Sorority sisters step, bringing the performances back to a familiar campus. “Sister Africa,” the African Students Association culture show, didn’t just aim to entertain. The goal was to highlight the ways in which each audience member had a connection to Africa.
“We really wanted to showcase how Africa has impacted other cultures from around the world and to show the connection that the entire world has to Africa,” ASA President Olubisi Ajetunmobi said.
The executive board of ASA with Ajetunmobi in center.
Africa has influenced cultures and inspired the instruments and music used in the merengue, bachata, and salsa. Steel drums and martial arts like capoeira also have African influence along with step dancing, which is actually derived from Gumboot dancers in South Africa.
“We wanted to show people that regardless of where you are from, if you want to have an affiliation with Africa, you actually do, it is just up to you to find it,” Ajetunmobi said.
African Zuzu Dancers perform acrobatics on stage at the ASA Culture Show.
Among the performances ASA brought to campus were:
- Rapping by Detroit’s Splash Josh
- Socially conscious poetry by Adedolapo Adeniji
- Three fashion shows in which all of the clothing made was tied and not sewn
- Stepping by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated
- Acrobatics by the Zuzu Dancers
“I loved the variety that we got to see. The show was beautifully tied to the theme and it got me thinking about how Africa has impacted my culture,” said LSA senior Everlin Gutierrez.
Financial hardships earlier in the year caused ASA members to question if they could continue their annual culture show, or even continue being an organization. Despite the uncertainty, planning for the event began last summer. Ajetunmobi sees the event’s success as a turning point for ASA.
“I think this is a new beginning for ASA because we put ourselves on the map with this event in terms of what people know about us.”