BY PRECIOUS AKANINYENE / STAFF WRITER
Augustana’s Afri-Youth club is a student organization based in Augustana. The club was created with the goal of establishing a sense of community among African students, as well as providing a platform for sharing and promoting the diversity of African cultures. The club’s objectives are to challenge misconceptions and promote a deeper understanding of the continent of Africa, while also fostering meaningful connections among students.
Overall, the Afri-Youth club plays an important role in promoting cultural understanding and support for the African community on campus.
Background of the Club
The Afri-Youth club was established with the aim of building a sense of community among African students and creating a platform for others to learn about and appreciate the diversity of Africa. The club has a rich history, born out of a desire to bring together African students and provide a space for discussions and the sharing of cultures. The club’s mission has been carried forward by previous presidents, and continues to be a source of support and connection for African students today.
- Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of the club are centered around creating a sense of community among African students while also welcoming non-African students to participate in events and learn about African culture and diversity. The club aims to facilitate important discussions and create a safe space for all students.
Additionally, the club encourages involvement from anyone interested in learning and supporting, whether it be through attending meetings, participating in discussions, or reaching out to the executive team for more information.
- Achievements and Impact
The Afri-Youth Club has made a significant impact in the community and has achieved some accolades. One of its proudest moments was winning the Best Club award at the Student Life Awards. In pre-COVID times, the club was well known for its popular and successful event “One Night in Africa,” which was attended by a large number of people and showcased the diversity of African culture. These events and achievements highlight the club’s commitment to bringing together African students and fostering a sense of community while promoting cultural awareness among all members of the community.
Interview with the Club President
Meet Octavia Mashabane, the dynamic president of the Afri-Youth Club. She is a Third-Year South African student majoring in Psychology. Photo submitted.
Q. Can you give us a brief overview of the Afri-Youth Club and its purpose?
A: “The Afri-Youth Club is a safe space for African and Canadian African students to connect with their roots and learn about the diversity of Africa. It provides a direct line of conversation with students from various African countries and is open to non-African students who are interested in learning about African culture. The club recognizes the diversity within Africa and aims to provide a deeper understanding of the different countries and cultures within the continent.”
Q. What motivated you to become the president of the club?
A: “The previous President, Eni, encouraged and inspired me to take on the role of President. I wanted to do more for the club and felt that I had a good vision for its future. As a newer student, I believed I could bring fresh ideas and bring new life to the club. The vote of confidence from Eni gave me the belief in myself to take on this role.”
Q. What are the main goals and objectives of the club?
A: “The main goal of the Afri-Youth Club is to create a safe space for African students who may be far from their places of comfort. The club brings African students together, regardless of which country they are from, and bonds them through their shared heritage. It also serves as a window into the diversity and beauty of Africa, providing an opportunity for others to learn about and share in the culture. The objectives of the club are to create a safe space for members to share stories and experiences, as well as an environment where people can learn about and embrace the diversity of Africa.
The Afri-Youth Club is not limited to African or black students. Other students are encouraged to join and learn about Africa, even if they have no prior knowledge of the continent. The club holds events, such as discussions about common misconceptions, to encourage dialogue and promote learning. The club is a welcoming space for anyone who wants to learn more about Africa and its diverse culture.”
Q. Can you tell us about any significant achievements or impact the club has made in the African community?
A: “One significant achievement of the Afri-Youth club at Augustana is providing a safe space for African students to connect with others who share similar experiences and backgrounds. The club has helped African students who were feeling homesick by introducing them to other African students from different countries and creating a sense of community. The club also hosts events such as “One Night in Africa” where people can wear their traditional clothing and feel connected to their culture, which has helped many students feel less alone and less homesick. Additionally, the club provides a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas, helping to dispel misconceptions about Africa and its diverse cultures. These achievements have had a positive impact on the African community in Augustana, making the transition to a new place easier for African students.”
Q. Can you describe the different activities and programs the club holds and their purpose?
A: “The club holds bi-weekly general meetings which provide a platform for members to connect, de-stress, and participate in activities such as two truths and a lie and Kahoot quizzes. The meetings also touch upon important topics related to mental health, misconceptions, and history. The club has an annual event called “One Night in Africa” which is their biggest event. The club also plans to hold additional meetings during Black History Month. They are also considering having movie nights where they can watch African movies made by Africans in Africa. The club is considering showcasing more African movies instead of Hollywood-produced black movies.”
Q. What challenges has the club faced and how have they been overcome?
A: “Visibility has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the club, especially due to the COVID-19 restrictions and surging cases last year. The club is trying to overcome this by encouraging the executive team to reach out to potential members, relying on word of mouth, and making the meetings meaningful so that students see the value in attending. The club is also trying to gather feedback from members and potential members on what they want to see, in order to make the club more appealing. The club recognizes the importance of making the most of people’s time and is striving to provide value for their time.”
Q. What is your vision for the future of the Afri-Youth Club?
A: “The vision for Afri-Youth is to expand beyond just African and black students, and become a welcoming space for students of all backgrounds to come in, participate and experience the culture and diversity. This can be achieved through meaningful interactions and asking for feedback on what students would like to see in the club.
The goal is to provide a space for education and growth for all members and foster an inclusive environment that promotes understanding and cultural appreciation.”
Q. How can the community support and get involved with the club?
A: “The best way the community can support the club is by getting involved. And also, if you have any suggestions or ideas for events or initiatives that you would like to see the club participate in, feel free to share those with us. Your input and involvement can help the club grow and achieve its goals. So whether it’s through attending meetings, volunteering, or just spreading the word about the club, every little bit helps. Thank you for your support!”
In conclusion, the Afri-Youth club is an important student organization on the Augustana campus. It was established with the goal of promoting cultural awareness and building a sense of community among African students. The club has made a significant impact in the community and has achieved some accolades, including winning the Best Club award at the Student Life Awards.
The club is open to all students, regardless of their background, who are interested in learning about African culture and promoting diversity. The club holds various events and activities that promote learning, support, and connections among students. The club’s objectives, achievements, and activities demonstrate the positive impact it has had on the African community and campus at large, providing a safe space for African students and promoting cultural understanding among all members of the community.
February is Black History Month. Visit the University of Alberta’s page on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for more information on related events at Augustana, at North Campus, and online. Make sure to follow the Afri-Youth club’s social media to stay up to date on the club’s future events!