African Ball (African Students Association)
African Students Association is a student organization that provides a community for African students and promotes African awareness to the greater Northwestern community. Our main goal is to create and sustain community for those interested in engaging with African culture. In the fall, ASA hosts Afropollo, a mock of Showtime at the Apollo, where various students perform for a prize. Jabulani, the annual cultural show, is hosted in the winter and entertains all with a fashion show, skits, and performances. Throughout the year, we have community bonding events and discussions on topics related to Africa, and we also partner with various on-campus and off-campus organizations on relevant programming. This year, we plan for the first time to host African Ball, a formal dance that will provide a space for members of the Northwestern community to familiarize themselves with African cultures— just as we did during Jabulani—but in a much more intentional, community-building, and exciting way. Jabulani is a cultural show that is more or less a spectator event, and though that is valuable in its own right, hosting a dance rather than a show puts the agency to express culture and represent oneself back into the public’s hands. In this “reverse” cultural showcase, we hope to maximize the potential for cross-cultural exchange by exposing people to the varying genres and styles of African music, encouraging traditional African clothing, and serving African cuisine from various cultures.