Contrary to popular perceptions and perspectives, Africa is neither a country nor a continent. Instead, it’s a planet that is home to myriads and millions who treasure and find pleasure in their homeland, diverse cultures, vibrant traditions and most importantly Africanicity. If 25 May 2023 was a person, then her visit to USAP Community School was a nostalgic and exciting life-time experience that left her ecstatic and exuberant as she witnessed the community embracing and celebrating Africa Day.
Running under the theme ‘Embracing Africanicity’, the 2023 Africa Day celebrations explored the infinite bounds and boundaries of African entertainment and life. After ornately adorning themselves in royal robes of the African kings and queens of old, the beautiful and bubbly students, along with their teachers and visitors, gathered in the dining hall, which had earlier been used to serve breakfast, consisting of mbambayira/ imbambayila/ biyazi and madhumbe/ amadumbe/ mahole. The Traditional Music and Dance Club broke the ice with a fiery performance that left the temperature of the room degrees higher. A quiz on Africa then followed where four teams battled to prove who knew the most about their motherland. Of course, given how USAPCS centers Africa, they were well versed in matters of their motherland, and there were many ties that were eventually broken by sudden death questions to come up with the champions.
The next few moments were filled with lots of passion and charisma as a presidential procession snatched the attention of the audience. Fourteen students represented the Heads of State of seven different African states, dressing and acting like them. To connect everyone in the room with their African heritage, three prominent poets followed, passionately presenting a calming trilogy of poems. Soon afterwards, a group of dancers from the DRC heated up the stage with a lot of awe-inspiring and well-coordinated dance to Rhumba music. Later, laughter, tension and fear filled the room and lingered for some time after an amazing performance of a student-written play, One World, The World is a balloon, from the USAP Drama Club about unity, dating back to the days of Tshaka Zulu. More poetry, dance, music and a folk tale rounded off the performances.
The USAP Marimba Band sealed the circle of entertainment, inviting audience members to dance on stage. While the polyphonic melodies of the marimbas caressed the people’s souls, the thunderous rhythms of the African drums vibrated not only the room, but also the hearts of all audience members. Many people, including the Head of School, some faculty and students alike danced together vigorously in a circle while shouting exuberantly.
Lunch was served outside by the picnic tables. There were several delicious African disches including tsunga inedovi/ itsunga eledobi/ chigumbezi chiladdobi/ tsunga yenye iko na siagi yakaranga, and matemba/ mantemba/ amatemba/ ndagaha and even jollof rice from Ghana. Finally, still on a high note, students played African games after a grand photo shoot. There is never a dull moment at USAPCS, especially on special occasions. We add our own twist and celebrate Africa with a bang!
Watch below to catch some of the action!
Author: Jepthan Lesedi Chirikuutsi is an U6 student at USAP Community School who is a member of the USAP Media Club.