Africa Week Celebrations Return Starting May 6

News subtitle

The Beyond Borders theme highlights diversity of African culture, art, and societies.

Students at 2023 Africa Week
Students celebrate during Africa Week last year. From left are Carolyne Musyoka ’20, Guarini ’23; Gichuki Kinyanjui, Tuck Business Bridge Program; Zakiya Nasiru ’23, Thayer ’23; Kwabena Asare ’25; Ganza Belise Isingizwe ’26; Rothschild Toussaint ’23; Ivie Aiwuyo ’26; Priscilla Agbeo Guarini ’27; Josue Godeme ’26; Hawa Hamidou-Tabayi ’26; and Olivia Rateau ’24. (Photo courtesy of DASA)

Beyond Borders: Towards Pan-African Unity is the theme of this year’s Africa Week celebrations.

They start Monday, May 6, with a community discussion at the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life on “diversity in Blackness” and conclude on Saturday, May 11, with a mock wedding celebrating a diversity of vibrant East and West African traditions.

Amanda Adetula ’26, events coordinator for the Dartmouth African Student Association and the co-chair of Africa Week, says by pushing beyond borders, “we hope to explore intercountry and intra-African understanding and cooperation, the forces that emphasize differences instead of similarities, and strategies toward a more united Africa.”

Embracing those differences means embracing the rich variety of traditions, languages, music, dance, and intellectual history, says Adetula, an economics major originally from Lagos, Nigeria. 

And the idea reaches beyond the continent, says Chukwuka Odigbo ’25, co-president of DASA and co-chair of Africa Week. 

“It also goes beyond just the borders of the African continent to anyone who has roots in Africa, regardless of where they are from. So moving towards pan-African unity is toward a pan-Black unity,” says Odigbo, an economics and mathematics major from Enugu, Nigeria. 

Oumie Fatty-hydara ’27, a molecular biology major from Anchorage, Alaska, is a first-year representative on DASA and is leading the planning for Saturday’s wedding event.

“I’m super excited about the wedding,” says Fatty-hydara, “but I’m also just really excited to see people engage with Africa Week—to see my community come together and celebrate. It’s getting a lot warmer outside, so being able to go outside and do events together and just really revel and enjoy with each other is great.”

Fatty-hydara was born and raised in Anchorage, but her parents, who are from The Gambia, “were very adamant on making sure that I knew my culture.” Also, her grandmother would come from The Gambia to live with her family for part of the year, she says. “And my grandma didn’t speak a lick of English, she only spoke Mandinka. So my grandma would speak Mandinka to me constantly, which really allowed me to learn and understand my language, which gave me that bridgeway to be able to learn and understand my culture.”

Fatty-hydara’s experience illustrates the idea of embracing Africa’s diverse cultures and identities through inclusion of people of African descent living in the diaspora, Odigbo says. And recognizing and celebrating that diversity with the whole Dartmouth community and beyond is also important.

That is why Africa Week organizers are also reaching out to invite students from other schools such as the University of New Hampshire, the University of Vermont, and Colby Sawyer College, as well as to students from other Ivies to attend.

“We’re inviting students from other schools who can make it to come to the wedding event and experience and learn from us, from our traditions. So everyone can go home with something,” Adetula says. 

Africa Week Events Schedule

Monday, May 6

Event: Community discussion of “Diversity in Blackness as a Pathway to Pan-African Solidarity”
Time: 6 to 8 p.m., Haldeman 246 (The Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life Seminar Room)
Panel: Ayo Coly, professor of African and African American studies; Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, associate professor of history; Adedoyin Teriba, assistant professor of art history; and Clifford Campbell, lecturer in African and African American studies.

Tuesday, May 7

Event: Sip and Paint
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Shabazz Mural Room
Students will engage in painting works by Black artists or pieces that reflect Black themes, all while enjoying Afro-Soul music and nonalcoholic beverages, including Roselle Juice—a popular West African drink made from hibiscus flowers.

Thursday, May 9

Event: Dance Workshop with SOYEYA African Dance Troupe
Time: 6 to 8 p.m., Sarner East
A chance for all to come and learn choreography to an Afrobeat and an Amapiano song—two major music genres on the continent.

Friday, May 10

Event: Barbecue and Field Games
Time: 4 to 7 p.m., Baker and Shabazz lawns
The Dartmouth community is invited to enjoy an evening of field games including soccer, sack races, tug of war, and authentic South African Braai (barbecue), also called Suya in West Africa.

Saturday, May 11

Event: Fake Wedding
Time: 7 to 10 p.m., Collis Common Ground
This event features a simulated wedding designed to display the rich traditions and customs from several cultures in Kenya and Nigeria (the countries of the fake couple), and generally East Africa and West Africa. The ceremonial practices highlighted also resonate with other countries like The Gambia and Zambia, aiming to immerse guests in the diverse cultural heritage of these regions. The evening will include performances by the Afro-ensemble and SOYEYA African Dance Troupe.

Africa Week is supported by the Dartmouth African Students Association, the Special Programs and Events Committee, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the Leslie Center for the Humanities, Allen House, North Park House, South House, West House, the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life, the Department of African and African American Studies, and the Department of Philosophy.