Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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African Week celebrates unity and tradition on campus

African+Week+celebrates+unity+and+tradition+on+campus

This week unfolds as a testament to diversity within the African continent and a call to recognize its contributions to the global community, foster unity and spotlight the rising influence of African leaders on the global stage.

SIU’s African Students Union (ASU) recently announced its African Week event. This year’s theme, “African Leaders as Global Ambassadors: Building a Strong Future,” aims to celebrate the rich diversity of African cultures and highlight the leadership roles that Africans play on the global stage. 

Muyiwa Adeyanju is the president of ASU, and acknowledges that uniting Africans through this event is a vital aspect of the organization.

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“The…week is about bringing a lot of the African students and campus together to show different cultures, different backgrounds, different attires. I would like colorful and beautiful culture to be together,” Adeyanju said.

It’s a unique opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to appreciate Africa and celebrate the richness of African cultures with people who may be unaccustomed to some African traditions.

Adeyanju said, “It’s not just for the Africans, but it’s also to show other people on campus about Africa, to show them the diverse cultures there. The ability to bring them together, it’s a very, very important thing to do for ASU.”

In line with this inclusive vision, ASU seeks to create an enriching experience for all members of the campus community. The diverse cultural showcase serves as a bridge, connecting individuals from various backgrounds and enlightening them about Africa’s rich heritage.

Herty Tinadu, public relations officer of ASU, said the week “symbolizes a time to educate, inspire and create a space where individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together to appreciate the beauty and strength of Africa’s contributions to the global community.”

She said the primary goals of the week include, fostering cultural understanding, celebrating African leadership and empowering students. Through these events, the organization aims to highlight the diversity within the African continent and promote a sense of global citizenship. 

“African Week holds immense significance for us, as it provides a platform to showcase the rich African cultures, celebrate our unity, and amplify the voices of Africans,” Tinadu said.

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Tinadu continued: “By emphasizing the theme of ‘African Leaders as Global Ambassadors,’ we hope to instill a sense of pride, leadership, and responsibility among our participants, encouraging them to contribute positively to a connected and strong future.” 

These events have presented opportunities to delve into topics related to African leadership, innovation, and global impact, especially during Monday’s Symposium event featuring many distinguished speakers, to help participants gain valuable insights.

It is encouraged that people continue to engage in meaningful discussions throughout the week to cultivate a deeper understanding of the pivotal role African leaders play in redefining the future.

Adeyanju said, “We feel like it’s high time a lot of Africans are taking important positions in the global circle and are an important part of every organization and country, at this point of time where there’s a lot of migration going on around. We feel like it’s also very important that a lot of Africans are in important places, that they can make a difference in the world at large and are making a difference for people here.” 

The work of ASU does not stop after this week.

The African Students Union serves as a guide for young students, providing a supportive community where they can navigate their academic journeys while staying connected to their roots and through cultural events.

Tinadu said, “Showcasing our culture is crucial for breaking stereotypes, fostering appreciation, and building connections. [ASU] aims to create an inclusive space where individuals can learn, share experiences, and find a sense of belonging as well.” 

ASU has established relationships with the International Student Council and Black Student Affairs Council as well.

Adeyanju said, “During the past year, we’ve tried to foster deeper connections with the Black Affairs Council so we can also participate in their program and they can also participate with us.”

They have worked to actively engage with diverse groups, creating more opportunities for inclusion and equity on campus. 

“We’ve been able to build a stronger connection for Africans, because we have a group of people, a community where all Africans are present. We are able to attend to everybody’s needs and be able to be there for ourselves and also are able to make a difference on campus as well,” Adeyanju said.

Planning a week-long event involves coordination and collaboration from everyone involved. 

“We start by identifying themes and activities that align with our objectives and the process includes securing speakers, curating film selections, and ensuring logistical details for each event,” Tinadu said. “Volunteer recruitment, promotion, and community engagement are also integral to the planning process.”

The Cultural Show and Awards Night on Saturday stands out, promising a memorable experience that brings together various elements of diverse cultures within Africa. This year, organizers hope to showcase traditional African wedding celebrations.

“Each event holds its unique charm, but personally, the African Themed Wedding is something we are particularly excited about. It entails the joy, traditions, and vibrancy of African celebrations and it promises to be a memorable experience, bringing together various elements of our diverse cultures,” Tinadu said.

Adeyanju agreed and said, “The wedding covers various aspects of African culture. It covers the societal aspect, it covers the economy and it covers the cultural aspect.”

He said the events bring people closer to ASU’s goals.

“It’s something that really makes me happy that we are given this kind of opportunity to be able to do these kinds of events even on campus. We foster more inclusivity and also equity and all those things that we stand for,” Adeyanju said. “It’s easy to have a lot of misconceptions about a lot of things, but the fact that we’re able to do things brings people closer to the culture, it brings people closer to us.”

ASU extends a request to everyone to participate in the events as more presence will contribute to their success and the building of a stronger, more connected future. 

Tinadu said, “We want to emphasize that African Week is an open invitation for everyone to join us in celebrating diversity, fostering cultural exchange, and appreciating the contributions of African leaders, and we also encourage all members of the community to attend, participate, and engage with us during this enriching and empowering week.”

The week showcases numerous events, each showcasing the unique talents, traditions and unity within SIU’s African community. Here’s what’s in store:

Wednesday, Feb. 21

The Bead Making and Craft Sale is an interactive event where participants can both attempt to create their own pieces and support local Africans and their creations. The event will be located at North Table #2, inside the Student Center. 

Friday, Feb. 23

Spend the evening at Karaoke with Sip & Paint to celebrate African art and music. Grant yourself the opportunity to express creativity in the Old Main Room at the Student Center, with the support of engaging instructors and peers. 

Saturday, Feb. 24

The final event of the week is the African Cultural Show and Awards Night. The wedding-themed event will be held in Ballroom D, with events from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.. It will have a reception, followed by diverse cultural music and traditional dance performances, as well as African cuisine. High-achieving students will also be recognized with an awards ceremony. 

For more information about the African Student Union and the events during African Week, see  Instagram or reach out to them directly on the RSO website.



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