By Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter
The African Student Association hosted “A Night In Africa” fashion show Sunday evening and raised $600 for its philanthropy, The Water Project. The event showcased diverse designs from different parts of Africa, and the outfits were designed and created by students. The event also featured a variety of dishes from African countries.
Alexandria, La., sophomore Bernetee Fondong, African Student Association membership chair, said the event’s models were required to audition and were chosen based on stage presence and availability.
“We had them audition, and we looked to see if you had a good walk, stage presence and if you could manage the crowd,” Fondong said. “The people we chose come from several different backgrounds and are not only African.”
The fashion show included a variety of fashion lines from wedding attire, North African attire, East African attire and traditional Cameroonian attire. It also featured an ankara line, which is an African material that is used predominately in Nigeria.
Cypress senior Amanda Okoli went to Nigeria over Christmas break and brought back yards of ankara for the fashion show. Okoli said her extended family lives in Nigeria, but her immediate family lives in the United States. The ankara she brought back was given to the executive board of the African Student Association, and the executive board was able to design their own outfits out of the material.
“It shows people that African material is very versatile, and you can get things made in your own style and your own personality,” Okoli said. “This will expose different parts of African culture. Anybody can be a part of this show that aren’t even African.”
Fondong said she hopes that this show breaks the stigma of Africa being one country.
“A lot of people tend to think that Africa is one huge country with the same culture with the same language, and I just want to see how different our cultures are and how beautiful it is when we come together,” Fondong said. “They will see how different our clothing is and food. I want to break the stigma of Africa being one versus a conglomerate of different cultures.”
Denver, Colo., senior Stephanie Nwagwu, community service chair and fashion show chair for the African Student Association, said Africa is negatively portrayed in the media.
“Africa is almost always negatively portrayed in the media as destitute and uncultured, or it’s portrayed as a huge safari,” Nwagwu said. “That is an infinitesimally small part of what Africa is about. Africa is full of a multitude of cultures, and its beauty is unmatched.”
Nwagwu said she wanted the fashion show to teach people about the variety of cultures within Africa.
“I wanted people to leave with an understanding of the diversity of the African continent. I think we achieved our goal of spreading African culture, and overall, I believe the show was successful,” Nwagwu said.
Alexandria, La., senior and president of the African Student Association Mima Fondong said that the event was successful, and the crowd was racially diverse – including students who typically would not be exposed to this type of culture, and the money raised will be donated to The Water Project.
“The Water Project, whose goal is to provide access to clean water to the impoverished citizens of Sub-Saharan Africa through well-building projects,” Mima Fondong said. “The money will go toward Baylor ASA’s well located in Kenya.”