The Ball State African Student Association (ASA) hosted the first Annual Afro Gala March 31 in Cardinal Hall at the Student Center. This year's theme was “A Night in Africa” and celebrated African culture for its beauty and life. This event was a fundraiser for the Bramble Foundation in Nigeria.
Fourth-year Jessica Serwah is the ASA public relations officer and was one of the organizers of the Afro Gala.
“Afro Gala is about showcasing culture, art, music, fashion and food from Africa, West East, North Middle East. And we're showcasing all of that. We're trying to bring some culture from back home here on Ball State’s campus,” Serwah said.
The music, provided by DJ Ranye, celebrated African culture through its lyrics and moving rhythms from all areas of Africa with a mixture of genres. The food, provided by Nathmary Events and Services, was an array of dishes that celebrated Nigerian culture with a palette of different flavors.
Bright Afriyie is a mathematics professor at Ivy Tech and was the emcee for the Afro Gala, who also volunteers with the ASA.
“The Bramble Foundation is a group of people in Nigeria that help people with disabilities and in Africa, especially people with disabilities are really very marginalized in society,” Afriyie said. “And so it really touches my heart that the African Students Association here have found it important to give back to that group so that they can, you know, revamp or get the group going.”
Alumna Hannah Causey (‘22) returned to campus to volunteer with ASA and help put on events like the Afro Gala.
“Specifically this event, to me means that I am a part of a legacy here at Ball State and it means that I'm able to celebrate my culture as a student and alumni of African descent,” Causey said. “The main goal is to set a legacy for the African Student Association here. We want to provide students with a safe place where they can learn about their culture and also celebrate their culture.”
The Afro Gala will not be the last event the ASA puts on this year with more events to come before the spring semester ends
“We are actually going to be having ASA weekend in Bloomington, we're going to collaborate with other African student associations in Indiana in Bloomington on [April] 21 through the 23 and then we're also going to have our end of the year celebration where we bring food and music and we just come together to celebrate our accomplishments of the year,” Serwah said.
The ASA brought the culture to life with clothes, food, dancing, and music. The colors gold, black, and red highlighted the elegance of the theme. Though this is the first Afro Gala it will not be the last at Ball State.
“Specifically what this event means to me is a legacy,” Serwah said. “I've been in ASA for about three years and we haven't been able to do this. So me being able to be a part of this project, and being able to come back in the next years and see that it’s going on, it means so much to me because it's a part of me, that's gonna be here at Ball State forever.”
Contact Jayda Mann with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org