Last Thursday, the African Student Association (ASA) held African Takeover Day. Students who are members of the organization, have African heritage or ties to the continent dressed in traditional garb to celebrate African heritage and cultural diversity. They planned the event for the final day of Black History Month in order to recognize the culture of the month.
This event has its roots at Howard University. The first African Takeover Day happened in 2012 at Howard. Mercer decided to participate in African Takeover Day after finding out via social media about the event.
“I just heard of it over twitter on Christmas break,” stated freshman and treasurer of ASA Jacqueline Zvandasara. The event was planned in association with the twitter page AfricanDad (@AfricanDad,) a page followed by Zvandasara. Zvandasara then helped lead the group in planning the event, working with the rest of the executive board and Campus Life. The event was planned entirely this semester by ASA.
Students from all different countries dressed up in traditional African clothing and took pictures together in their attire. ASA booked a table in Connell Lobby to play popular African music and to advertise for an upcoming event. They also performed traditional African dances in Connell. More social media came into play for the event as students who wore cultural attire took pictures and shared them via social media using the hashtag #AfricanTakeOverDay. The event aimed to celebrate and raise awareness of African culture and heritage and to spread diversity on Mercer’s campus.
African Takeover Day’s purpose was two-fold; in addition to celebrate Black history and African culture, ASA used the event as a means to promote their upcoming fashion show.
On April 19th, ASA hopes to have a culture night and fashion show. At this event, cultures from around the world will be showcased with a focus on African heritage.
There will be stage performances and a fashion show. This event started in 2011 and has been an annual event since that date. This year’s theme is “Coming to America,” and will be celebrating how African culture came to America via the African Diaspora. This date is tentative for the event, but ASA hopes that the event will take place on April 19th from 7:00-9:00.
ASA is a diverse group on campus who welcomes anyone with interest in or ties to Africa. Their goals for the future include growing as a group and becoming an improved organization overall. In addition, they hope to break stereotypes about Africa and share information about the continent through events like the African Takeover Day and forums.
Vice President Paul Mould stated “ASA hopes to bring unity to African students on campus.”
The organization is open to students who come from Africa, who share ties to Africa or who have an interest in learning about Africa. Specifically, the organization hopes to help homesick African students preserve their home culture and transition well into a new culture.
The president of this club is Edmund Cooper, and the adviser is Chester Fontenot.