MTU African Night features continental dance, food, fashion

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette The Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre from Cincinnati, Ohio, performs at African Night at Michigan Technological University Saturday.

HOUGHTON — It wasn’t until coming to the U.S. that Kedmon Hungwe thought of himself as African.

“The more time I spend here, the more I discover that I come from Africa,” said Hungwe, adviser for the African Students Organization at Michigan Technological University, where he has taught since 2002 after coming from the University of Zimbabwe. “It’s an identity. We have to discover ourselves as Africans. It’s a big place — a place of different foods, different music, different dances and all kinds of interesting facets.”

Community members learned about several aspects of African cultures during the 17th annual African Night held at Michigan Technological University Saturday.

Before the program, the crowd enjoyed a dinner with dishes such as yams and rice.

The program began with an African fashion show, showing off traditional and modern designs. Some were ceremonial garb, while others could be worn to the office on casual days.

The Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre from Cincinnati, Ohio, closed out the night with energetic Nigerian drumming and dance, pulling members of the crowd onto the floor. In one comic dance, a man tried to carry his wife and dropped her; by the end, he had jumped into her arms.

In between songs, students also heard student standup about being an African abroad, interspersed with African facts.

Afterwards, students said they had enjoyed the performances.

“It was amazing,” said Mads Howard, a second-year computer science major. “You could just tell the performers were having so much fun, doing what they did. It really made it feel welcoming and enjoyable.”