When people think of Africa, they may just see the wars, struggles and pain.

But when Kombe Kapatamoyo and more than 100 African students at West Virginia University think of the continent they grew up in, they think of the celebrations, love and community.

“Africans are known for their community,” said Kapatamoyo, president of the WVU African Students’ Association.

Some of the African students at WVU have come directly from their homeland, like Kapatamoyo did. Originally from Zambia, she completed her undergraduate degree in Africa and her master’s degree at Ohio University.

“I’ve seen both the good and the bad, and we want to highlight to people that it’s not all bad,” she said.

She said the Africa Week festivities are an opportunity for African students to remember their traditions as well as share them with the larger community.

The association has held Africa Week since last year, but this year there will be a blend of politics and culture, and celebration and thoughtfulness.

This will be the first year the Africa Forum, held in previous years at Shenandoah University, will be held at WVU. Kapatamoyo said the forum is an opportunity to blend academic pursuits with a celebration of culture.

On “African Governance, Security and Development,” the forum will feature speakers from WVU and elsewhere—such as Dr. Robert Maxon, professor of History, and Dr. Emira Woods, co-director of the Global Studies Program, Institute for Policy Studies—who will discuss Africa in light of health, history, political science, gender and faith. The forum will take place on Saturday (April 2) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in room 202 of Brooks Hall. A lunch at Hatfield’s will be provided for conference attendees.

Those wishing to attend may register via e-mail by providing name, address, organization If applicable and the number of people attending to wvuasa@gmail.com.

Kapatamoyo said the forum is timely in relating to recent unrest in North African countries as well as debt trade and new government coalitions forming within the African continent.

The forum was developed to bring together those in the region to increase understanding and engagement in regard to development in Africa.

Africa Week activities include:

Movie Night: The film “Bamako” will be shown free to the public on April 4 at 6 p.m. in the Gluck Theater. The film takes place in Bamako, Mali, and features the townsfolk putting the World Bank and global capitalism on trial.

Bowling Night: Participants will be able to play for half off the regular price at the Mountainlair bowling lanes on Tuesday (April 5) at 6 p.m.

Men’s Soccer: Participants can gather for organized soccer games on Thursday (April 7) from 6-8 p.m. and on (April 8) from 4-7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Contact Kevin at kayoola@mix.wvu.edu to register a team.

Africa Night: On (Saturday) April 9 from 5-9 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms, will feature African food from various countries, a fashion show and dancers from the Soweto Street Beat group.

Tickets to Africa Night are $15 or $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available in the President’s Office for Social Justice, room B11 of Stewart Hall and the Center for Black Culture & Research. For more information on Africa Week events, visit http://www.asa.studentorgs.wvu.edu/events

Africa Week is also co-sponsored by the WVU Office of Student Affairs, Office of the vice president for Administration and Finance, the President’s Office for Social Justice, the Student Government Association the Center for Black Culture & Research, and University Relations.



CONTACT: Kombe Kapatamoyo, president of WVU African Students’ Association

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