Willamette celebrates African culture

by University Communications,

The student African Studies Club will explore African culture through a week of conversation, activities and speakers Feb. 10 to 16.

“For a lot of us, Africa is a distant place of exotic animals and people, extreme poverty and disease, and wars and corruption,” says Carley Kwiatkowski ’13, president of the African Studies Club.

“[Africa Week] is about confronting singular, one-dimensional narratives of Africa, encouraging critical reflection about Africa and our relationship to it and learning from the creativity and innovation that has and continues to emerge from the continent.”

The week of free events begins with Nollywood Night Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Montag Center. It will feature a variety of popular short films from Nigeria’s Nollywood, the world’s fastest growing film industry.

The keynote speaker for this year’s Africa Week, Elifuraha Laltaika, will lecture on indigenous people’s rights to land and natural resources on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Paulus Lecture Hall. Laltaika is a Fulbright scholar from Tanzania with expertise in indigenous people’s rights, human rights and environmental law.

The university convocation, “The Best of Intentions,” will also keep with the theme of the week, with faculty and students facilitating a conversation about the Kony 2012 campaign and fair trade coffee. The convocation will take place Feb. 14 at 11:30 a.m. in Waller Hall’s Cone Chapel.

Other events of the week include a screening of the film, “Invictus” on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge, and a student panel discussion on abroad experiences to Africa Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room of the Hatfield Library. On Feb. 16, an African Market will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Putnam University Center’s Cat Cavern.

Throughout the month of February, the Hatfield Library will display a collection of books and films — and a list of resources — for students interested in African culture.

For more information, contact Carley Kwiatkowski, ckwiatko@willamette.edu