Mar 302009
Authors: Stephen Lin

The Lory Student Center swam with vibrant color and multicolored geometric designs, as students dressed in the traditional garb of their African ancestors kicked-off CSU’s Fifth Annual African Week Monday night.

Students from Ghana, Liberia, Sudan and many other parts of the African continent attended the opening ceremony to celebrate their cultural roots and to help raise money for the final and largest event of the week, Saturday’s Africa Day, by stringing together bead necklaces to sell.

Students said they came together to bond and learn about each other’s cultural histories, a fact accentuated by the colorful garments, such as the Kente cloth of Ghana, which speckled the room.

Monday’s ceremony was just one of many events being hosted by the organization Africans United throughout the week with the intent of informing CSU and the Fort Collins community about African culture. Abena Nuamah, a junior undeclared major, said the week will be a good way “to help students find similarities between African and American culture.”

Stephanie Adjei, a junior human development major agreed, saying, “Students shouldn’t be in the dark about Africa.”

Abigail Mensah-Bonsu and Ebele Okocha started Africans United five years ago to create awareness about Africa. The organization has since grown and now seeks to educate the greater Fort Collins community as well as campus.

Vice president of Africans United, Chigozie Okocha, a sophomore political science major, said the object of the group is to expand the African influence and get more first year students to join their organization.

“We’re living examples of African culture,” he said while trying to string beads together.

Other students, like junior sociology and criminal justice major Mikyla Nelson, said Africans United is a good way for African students to discover more about their heritage.

“It’s important to me to get to know the real history,” Nelson said.

Okocha said he notices that many members of Africans United maintain an upbeat attitude that distinguishes them from other CSU community members.

“They’re so different from people on campus. They have confidence from knowing about themselves,” Okocha said about members.

Africa Week continues with slam poetry in the Ramskellar Tuesday at 6 p.m., a showing of the movie “Immanuel’s Story” on Wednesday in the Commons at 6 p.m., Game Night on Thursday in LSC room 216 at 6 p.m., and finally, Africa Night on Saturday in the LSC at 5 p.m.

Africa Night will have a fashion show, a play and food tasting, all emphasizing the African culture and junior social work major Mikailah Pamphille said it will be a good way to learn about traditional African cultures, food and dress.

Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at

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