Coming to America: ASA Banquet Celebrates African Cultures

    In an effort to display the diverse food, fashion, and the traditional dances of African nations and cultures, the African Student Association (ASA) hosted their annual banquet on Saturday, April 15 at 8:30 p.m. at the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Guests were welcomed to the banquet by Joses Ngugi and Paul Ochieng who were cracking jokes in order to warm up the crowd. After a word of prayer, guests lined up to sample some Eastern African cuisine, which featured Mandazi (a fried dough delicacy), rice, lentils, veggie pies and various plant-based stews.  

To kickstart the evening, a fashion show was held to display African fabrics, with their intricate textures and designs. One by one, couples strutted arm-in-arm down the runway with smiles plastered on their faces and while grooving to the combination of Afrobeats and the crowd’s applause.  

Sarah Duvivier (sophomore, graphic design) was the brave student from the audience who volunteered for the Coming to America trivia game, where she had the chance to win up to $100 if she answered each of the 10 questions about the 1988 movie correctly. With only one wrong answer, Miss Duvivier walked away proudly after winning a total of $90.

After the game, ASA’s dance team stole the show when they came out and thrilled the crowd with their moves. Lukonde Mwinga (senior, business administration) was the main focal point during the dancing segments, because he shocked the crowd with his intricate footwork that allowed him to shuffle his body across the floor.

Another source of entertainment came from the “Best Dressed” competition for guys and girls, where Kene Ejiofor (sophomore, public health) and Timmy Adesina (freshman, pre-nursing) walked away with the title as they sported attire from their native country of Nigeria.

As the main event drew to an end, ASA President Joy Ngugi (sophomore, computer science), stepped out onto the floor to give thanks to her executive board, composed of Social Vice-President Chinyere Erondu (sophomore, theology); Public Relations Director Denae Keizs (sophomore, film); Photo Director Thato Lehoko (junior, photography); Video Director Jessica Felicio (senior, architectural studies); Secretary Thembi Ndebele (sophomore, biotechnology, pre-dentistry); and Pastor Victor Nyachieo (junior, theology).

Daniette St. Martin (senior, exercise science) said, “The ASA banquet was amazing and filled with culture. I feel as if this year was just another successful banquet… everything from the food, music and entertainment helped tie all the cultures into one.”

“Nothing can be boring when you have so many different cultures intertwined. The fashion definitely makes you miss home and makes you proud to be African,” Pepisiwe Moyo (sophomore, medical laboratory science, pre-medicine) said.


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