African Night

By: Ajmal Abdirahman & Mushtaq Yonis

Image taken from: Instagram-@hpsh_asa

On March 3rd, Highland Park Senior High hosted the second annual African Night! African Night showcased a variety of different cultures, dances, poems, clothing, and food. Students who are a part of Highland’s African Student Association (ASA) put in a lot of time and effort to make it an enjoyable and fun filled night. The turnout was huge with lots of people coming from all over St. Paul!

The opening act was by Ayane Kabeto. She sang and danced for the audience. She beautifully sang “Blame It on the Boogie”, by The Jackson 5, and started the show off with a bang!

Followed by Ayane’s wonderful singing was a showcase of Oromo dances. The amazing dancers were, Fadela Yussuf, Nuhamin Melese, Zubeyda Kedir, Saba Getahun, Liya Lantyderu, Nardos Ashenafi, Samera Adam and Beti Negash. Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, which numbers around 40 million people.

Fun fact! The Oromo language is one of the youngest languages in the world to become a written language. Before that, the Oromos had a rich oral literature tradition including songs, proverbs, poems, and stories.

After that amazing performance…It was followed by a traditional Somali dance called Dhaanto. The dancers who showed off their dance skills were, Hana Elmi, Salmaan Mohamud, Nasro Osman, Subeir Said, Lena Ahmed, Sahil Ali, Sohail Ali and Iman Abdi. The performers did an amazing job showcasing their culture!

Dhaanto is a style of traditional Somali music and folk dance. The Dhaanto was inspired by the camel and mimics the actions of the camel. Fun fact, the world’s largest population of camels is found in Somalia.

Next was the lively Tanzanian duo. The two dancers were Jamila Dauda and Maaka Nyembo. They showed us a few Tanzanian dances with some really nice songs. The duo showed us our first taste of West Africa! They danced to the songs “Inama” by Diamond Platnumz Ft Fally Ipupa and “Kelebe” by Rayvanny Ft Inoss’B.

Tanzania is a country in East Africa. Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful aspects of East Africa. It is renowned for its exotic wildlife and rich cultural heritage. Here is a picture of the duo!

Then the crowd got to enjoy some Ethiopian and Eritrean dances. The dancers were Liya Lantyderu, Sonya Hussein, Ayane Jarso, Samera Adam, De’ Shaun Booker and Mahlet Dagne. Some of the dances they performed were, Gurage, Wyleta and Tirgey.

There’s a lot to love about Ethiopia, including its coffee and culture! And also Eritrea, for its delicious food, beautiful culture and its amazing architecture from Eritrea’s capital city Asmara.

Next was a beautiful spoken poem by Iman Abdi. Her poem was beautifully written. Black beauty was the theme of her poem. She spoke clearly and confidently and did so well!

After the poem, we got another taste of West Africa! The dancers were Qamar Amode, De’Shaun Andrea-Booker and Jamila Dauda. The songs they danced to were from Nigeria and Ghana. They were very vibrant and enthusiastic!

Nigeria is the most populous country in the whole of Africa with around 210 million people. Nigeria is one of the most diverse countries in the world with more than 500 spoken languages.

Ghana is also a very diverse country with over 70 ethnic groups residing in Ghana. Ghana is known for its dynamic culture and its food!

Next, the crowd got to enjoy an intermission with a video. The video was made by Asia Mohamed and Asma Sedik.

We talked to Asma Sedik about her experience as one of the video makers:

“The process of making the video was a bit stressful since we had to film it during school. It was hard to find times that would work for everyone and we often would have to miss class to film. But otherwise it was so much fun filming and we had a blast with our friends. Editing was also fun but also stressful because we didn’t have access to a professional camera or editing software, but we made due with what we had and learned a lot. Overall, a great experience!”

Back to more dancing, the crowd got to enjoy more Somali dances with Somali Part 2. The dancers were Zubeyda Kedir, Qamar Amode, Lena Ahmed, Sohail Ali, Sahaam Ahmed, Subeir Said, Muna Mohamed and Salmaan Mohamud. They did a performance of Shirib dance. The Shirib dance is very common in the southern region of Somalia.

A break from all the dancing; next up was a game show. The crowd was asked questions about Africa and if answered correctly they were given candy!

Then we got to enjoy a solo Congolese dance! By Jamila Dauda. She danced to the songs, “Call Me Baby” by CDG, “Moto” by Fabregas and “Ntaba Mood” by Ntaba2. She did a wonderful job!

There is a lot to be admired about the country of Congo with its rich natural resources and the world’s second-largest rainforest, in addition to, its unique culture and its delicious dishes.

Then we got to enjoy more Oromo dancing with Oromo Part 2! The dancers were Samera Adam, Muna Mohamed, Eddie Reynosa, Obama Ahmed, Sahil Ali and Zubeyda Kedir. They performed dances such as, Wollo, Wallega, Shagoyee and Sodoo!

Muna Mohamed, the president of ASA shared her African night experience:

“We would practice almost 4 times a week and spend a lot of time together, working on perfecting our dances and making sure we were showcasing our cultures in a positive light.”

The final thing was the Fashion show where many students participated and showcased their cultural clothing! We saw many different flags and ended the African Night with everyone singing to “Last Last” by Burna Boy! Overall, the night was a huge success and was filled with so much fun.

Ms. Baheriy was the advisor for the African Student Association, (ASA), we spoke to her about how it went this year:

“It was amazing, I’m so proud of all the students who participated, they put in a lot of work and it definitely paid off. Students started planning and practicing for dances in the early fall, and it was exciting to see it all come together last Friday!”

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