Week showcases African food, dance, fashion

Event focuses on far-reaching influences

Africa Week at Washington University in St. Louis begins Monday, Feb. 27, on the Danforth Campus. The African Students Association (ASA) sponsors this annual event.

“Africa Week 2012: Vive l’Afrique!” will highlight the far-reaching influences of the African continent and its reciprocal relationships with the countries of the world.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Africa Week 2012,” says Lola Oladini, president of ASA and a junior in Arts & Sciences. “We hope that this week will enable individuals from a variety of backgrounds to celebrate similarities while learning about the differences that make us unique.”

One of the main events will be a free comedy show featuring British-Nigerian comedienne Gina Yashere at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1 in The Gargoyle, Mallinckrodt Center. Yashere has been featured on a host of TV comedy programs, including The Jay Leno Show, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Def Comedy Jam and Last Comic Standing.

Yashere (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Yashere, who grew up in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents, offers a humorous perspective on the merging of two cultures to form one identity. For more information, visit ginayashere.com.

The schedule for Africa Week:

11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27: “A Taste of Africa,” The Gargoyle, Mallinckrodt Center. Free event features samples of food from all across Africa, as well as the Diaspora. Yori Yori, the ASA’s official dance group, will perform.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28: “Bollywood to Nollywood: African-Indian Fusion Dance Workshop,” Ursa’s Cafe on the South 40. The event, being held in collaboration with Ashoka, the South Asian student association, is a unique opportunity to learn a blend of Indian and African dance. WUSTL alumnus Aparna Kalyanaraman, now a teacher, performer and choreographer with Dances of India, will facilitate.

5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29: “African|Black|American: A Roundtable Discussion on Identity,” Room 276, Danforth University Center. This event provides an in-depth conversation on the designation and connotations of “African-American” in society.

7 p.m. Friday, March 2: “Vive l’Afrique! A Fashion Show” Tisch Commons, Danforth University Center. The free production will spotlight fashions from various African countries and feature performances by musicians, masquerades (stilt performers) and Yori Yori. The show also will include a bazaar with several local jewelry vendors.

Throughout the various events, there will be opportunities to donate to the St. Pius V Refugee Support Program, which welcomes, assists and advocates for refugees and immigrants who are settling in the neighborhoods around St. Pius V Parish on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis.

Africa Week 2012 was funded in part by a grant from the Women’s Society of Washington University in St. Louis and with the support of the Program in African & African-American Studies.

For more information, visit washuasa.wordpress.com.