Yusuf Dawodu, a native of Nigeria, was once asked by a co-worker if he had a pet giraffe because he was from Africa. Dawodu, a student at the University of South Dakota, said he jokingly played off the comment.
“I said ‘Yeah, do you want a ride?’ and we both kind of laughed about it,” he said.
But Dawodu said, along with other members of the African Student Association, that before they came to school in the U.S., they did their research about the country, and on arrival, they have tried to learn as much as they can about the culture.
“So, you can see the frustration we experience when people assume everyone from Africa is starving, dying from HIV, living in huts and don’t take the time to put in the research like we have,” Dawodu said.
One step to counteract preconceived stereotypes, said ASA member Harrison Kibombo, is to host the Africa Night Celebration, which carries the theme, “Africa: The Cradle of Humanity and Hope for the 21st Century.”
During the April 14 event, Kibombo said the ASA wanted to provide a platform for people to ask questions about the students’ native countries.
“(ASA) wants to give people the chance to break into our world, and what it takes to come from that background and then to assimilate into the American culture,” Kibombo said.
Check out the print edition of The Volante to see a breakdown of the event and other interesting facts.