Africa's cultural diversity on display at Harvard bash

Victor Kakulu | 4/15/2009, 5:44 a.m.

One noteworthy element of Africa Night was its ability to celebrate a vast array of African cultures, of which there are scores — Nigeria alone boasts over 250 unique ethnic groups. As a result, the preparation involved in celebrating the entire African continent’s cultural diversity was extensive.

“We’ve been planning since January for this,” said Osub Ahmed, vice president of the Harvard African Students Association. A Somalian American, Ahmed is studying organismic and evolutionary biology. Like Achebe, she is scheduled to graduate in 2010.

 “We knew how big we wanted it to be, and so it was real important to unite the other organizations and schools under one umbrella to make this a success.”

“It was a lot of planning, but I really believe anyone can do this,” echoed Achebe.

Former Bunker Hill Community College student Charles Ehizuelen, a Nigerian American living in Cambridge, said he hopes the show leads to more events that highlight Africa’s rich cultural history and diversity.

“The show was terrific — I only wish it had been longer,” said Ehizuelen, 28, who is an elder services volunteer. “There is a strong need for additional programs and events that speak to Africa and her people abroad. I truly hope this continues.”