Written by Amal Hamizah
Photos by: Sunway International Student Ambassadors
Tsamina mina eh eh, waka waka eh eh! The nostalgic song, Waka Waka by Shakira could be heard booming from Sunway University’s Art Gallery on the 2nd of May 2019. Sunway International Student Ambassadors (SISA) held an event called African Night, with the purpose to celebrate and educate Sunway students about the diverse cultures in Africa, and most importantly for the students to have fun. Each of the performances held that night represented each country found in Africa.
The first performance was by Razan who sang a song representing Sudan. The song was beautiful and filled with the meaningful message for people to be more aware of the issues that are currently happening in Sudan. Razan explained that the song is for her to express frustration and anger about the ignored issues that are currently happening there.
The lights in the Art Gallery were turned off. In the darkness, an explanation was given about the next performance, a short play about a young woman discovering Africa. The first half of the play explored North Africa. The main character was a traveller got lost and found a passerby. She asked where they were, and the man answered that they were in Egypt. The woman replied, “Egypt? I thought we’re in Africa!” The man then answered back, “Egypt is in Africa!” The man then explained about the beauty of Egypt and their pride in the long Nile River. The segment of the play ended with the man inviting the woman to come to his place and saying “I can introduce you to my few wives.” The audience laughed.
The woman then continued to travel. Lost again, she asked a passerby, and found out she’s in Algeria. There, she learnt how there are all sorts of people in Africa, not only limited to black but white people also live in Africa.
The play took a break, and seven gorgeous ladies all dressed in black made an entrance. They performed a dance to song called ‘Boshreit Kheir and Didi.’ This performance was to celebrate North Africa.
The next performance was another African dance also by a SISA member.
After the two performances, they proceeded on to the next part of the play, which was to discover more of Africa, specifically East Africa. The young woman continued her journey, and found a woman sitting down cooking some food. She asked the woman where they were, and the woman replied that they were in Nigeria. She then explained the specialities of Nigeria, such as how they have different kinds of religion and they are also proud of their rice field.
After Nigeria, the woman continued to walk, and all of sudden she encountered a lion. The woman screamed for help, and luckily she was saved by a passerby. (What country comes to mind when you read she encountered a lion?) Of course, she was in none other than a land famous for their majestic lions; Kenya! The woman thanked the man who helped her, and the man replied “You’re welcome, now we have our dinner.” The woman was surprised and said, “Lion for dinner!?” The man then explained about how in Kenya, they have the greatest mountain in Africa and they have special tribes such as the Maasai tribes. They also have a lot of wild animals such as lions and elephants, and the man offered to teach her how to cleanse evil spirit using their own traditions.
The play took another short break. The gorgeous ladies entered the stage again, but now wearing colorful and bright colored outfits. The emcee explained that the dance was a Nigerian dance.
The play resumed, and as the woman walked, she thought to herself, “I must be in India by now.”. She described how she was surrounded by the beautiful sea water. She found a passerby and talked to her. When she asked the passerby whether they are in India, the passerby was taken aback and responded, “India!? No! Look at our surrounding, we are on the beach surrounded by the beautiful sea. Does this look like India to you? No, this scenery can only be found in Mauritius!” The passerby then explained how they have a special bird, which is the Dodo bird that can be found in Mauritius.
Finally, the woman sat down and read the letter that she was going to send to her mother. She mentioned how she learnt a lot of things about the countries in Africa, and most importantly, she learnt what most people usually get wrong; that Africa is not just a country, but a continent that consists variety of countries. She ended the letter with saying she fell in love with Africa and would like to stay for longer time.
After the play, they had another cheerful dance performed by members of SISA. Then they proceeded with the next performance, which was a rap that represented Zambia. The performer asked all the audiences to stand up to hype up the performance even more. He rapped ‘Intruder Alert’, and the crowd all rapped and danced along with him.
At last, all of the performances came to an end. The emcee then mentioned before they opened the dance floor, which is a tradition of SISA events, that the audiences were all encouraged to showcase their beautiful and colorful outfits on the stage. The audiences that wore unique outfits, all ranging from colorful African themed outfit to Egyptian themed came up to the front and had a mini fashion show. They all walked in front with bright smile on faces, happily showcasing their bright outfits to everyone. They were told to come with African themed outfits after all, so it would be a waste not to show them off.
After all the glorious showcase of outfits, the audiences were told to enjoy the meals that were provided. Finally, everyone’s favorite part of the events came, which is the dance floor. This is where the lights were off and everyone could dance to the songs that were played with all their hearts.
This event was not only enjoyable, but also informative as they thoroughly explained how Africa is a unique and diverse continent, and Sunway international students from Africa were able to feel at home for that night too. SISA organized another great event, and we definitely encourage Sunway students to come to their future events, especially if they want to learn more about countries outside Malaysia.