Event debunks African stereotypes

By Destiny Witherspoon

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As student passed through the Student Center Friday afternoon, members of the African Students’ Association gathered to educate campus and debunk common African stereotypes.

Dressed in African attire, both members and non-members came together to produce a photo project about how the world perceives Africa versus what Africa is really about. Participants held signs that deconstructed popular stereotypes about Africa and its people, such as “I do not speak click click,” “Yes, we have lions … in the zoo,” and “No, I don’t speak African.”

ASA, a philanthropic organization challenged with serving the UK community by promoting African culture, created these signs before-hand, and they are all based on personal experiences that members have encountered growing up in the U.S. and even here at UK.

Senior Stella Achenjang held a sign that read “English is my first language.” Achenjang noted that she is from Cameroon so people expect her to speak French, without realizing that English is the other official language of the country. As former secretary and vice president of ASA since joining her freshman year, Achenjang was excited about the project because she wanted to show that there is more to Africa than what is shown on TV. She felt that in order to get people to understand a culture, they have to be exposed to it and told about it.

“I want to bring about awareness because that is the only way to erase ignorance,” Achenjang said.

One of the organizers, human health sciences junior and ASA president Bill Aboagye thought it was necessary to educate the campus about what Africa really stands for.

“Unfortunately, people know about the wars, poverty and other wrong things that are portrayed in the media, rather than the good parts of Africa like natural resources, landscapes and the will power of the people to make it in life no matter what. So we felt this was a great way to educate the UK community,” Aboagye said.