African Heritage day is a yearly event happening on campus hosted by the African Heritage Society. This year it was great as always with students from campus showing up to support the event and esteemed visiting guests in attendance as well brought by the JU English for you Program Coordinator Cynthia Nieland. It took place this year on March 16th in H3 , in the student activities center.
A short description of the African Heritage Society :
The African Heritage Society is a constituent of Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. It promotes interaction among all students of African and Caribbean origins, affiliations with all African nations as well as students of non African origins who are interested in Africa, African Affairs and the cultural heritage of Africa. It is an all inclusive association.
The African Heritage event was a bit different than in previous years a new introduction of workshop tables where girls from the club braided guests hair incorporating cool colors, provided face painting tutorials or showcased the art of making Ethiopian coffee.
Highlights of the event were the skit, where the sometimes funny difficulties of arranging an intercultural marriage and accounting for the varying expectations was portrayed – with of course a happy ending ! And a modern dance show from club members. The whole night was full of laughs, entertainment , but also serious moments, where guests appreciated poems with a message – like “Phenomenal Woman” from Noma and Thato, president and vice president of the society, and a separate original poem from Matthew called “ My Words”, which touched upon the issues surrounding language- and how colonial holdovers affect how people begin to view their original and mother tongue languages through a different lens.
Additionally, there was the African Heritage day fashion show, where the models showed off the fabulous designs of Afro Lindaz. Afro Lindaz is special, not only does it design and sell well fitting clothes with wonderful designs , it was founded by Jacobs Alumni. Nelisa Tebeka, who co-founded Afro Lindaz, provided this description of the fashion line, and what the goal and message behind the fashion is:
AfroLindaz Social Entrepreneurship was founded in 2013 at Jacobs University Bremen by three young biochemist (Kedest Tadesse Asnake from Ethiopia, Ndeye Khady Thiombane from Senegal and Nchimunya Nelisa Tebeka from Zambia). It is a charity oriented initiative that aims to share a culture, create employment and support education in Africa. We provide products made by skilled African tailors and craftsmen. Income made is used to fund educational projects for disadvantaged children.
AfroLindaz has been actively involved with Jacobs University by partnering with faculty and students. We have showcased our collection at a number of fashion shows in collaboration with student oriented and also faculty oriented events. Some of the faculties with whom we have worked hand in hand include the Jacobs host family team and the Jacobs host family English for JU group. These collaborations have enabled us to share insights on our social enterprise and also given us an opportunity to inform the community in Jacobs and Vegesack about the importance of fair trade.
– -Nelisa Tebeka
“JU English for you” Program coordinator Ms.Cynthia Nieland had to say:
“ The African Heritage Event was very dignified, full of fun and life Spirit. Our VIPs were greeted cordially at the door by Aisha and Noma, they liked the Poems and sketch and of course the Fashion Show. I spent hours making the Food and they told me it was all gone in 5 minutes. Anyway, thanks for informing us about it. Dr. Olumni is coming back to speak at Jacobs in May.”
I was a moderator and the “soon to be married girl” in the skit and had a wonderful time ! Maybe also because I am graduating in a few months and nostalgia is making me eager to participate in everything one more time but honestly, next year when you’re at Jacobs make sure to get involved in clubs and cultural events, it is immensely rewarding to perform; and to have an event’s success be dependent on you and the work you put in! And there are several events like this on campus, the ones most similar to African Heritage Day are the Chinese New Year Celebrations, Diwali, and COSA (Colors of Southern Asia).