Africa Week Wraps Up with Faces of Africa Show

Students danced, sang, and performed spoken word during the annual Faces of Africa show in Lowell Lecture Hall on Friday.

The event, which was organized by the Harvard African Students Association, marked the conclusion of Africa Week, a week-long celebration of African culture.

The theme for Faces of Africa this year, “Living History,” evoked an attempt to “reimagine and reinterpret what African history means to us,” said Princess Daisy M.A. Akita ’15, president of the Harvard African Students Association. She emphasized the significance of the event in furthering the conversation on Africa at Harvard.

Throughout the night, hosts Chisom M. Okpala ’15 and Olumakinde A. Ogunnaike ’17 kept the energy levels high, and the room often filled with laughter.

“That was one of the best nights of my time at Harvard,” Okpala said. “There were so many good performances, and people really went in to have fun and learn more about Africa.”

The event revolved around a competition between nine undergraduates representing various regions of Africa, who vied for the “Face of Africa” title. The contestants individually displayed their talents and then participated in a question-and-answer session in front of a panel of three judges, who provided feedback and determined the winners.

Udodiri R. Okwandu ’17 and E. Steve Moundou-Missi ’15 were named the winners of the competition. Okwandu ’17 shared a spoken word piece with the audience on her hair, and how her mother taught her to embrace it and love it as part of her African heritage.

Moundou-Missi also spoke about the importance of family during the question-and-answer session, when he said that his greatest accomplishment is making his parents proud.

Student groups like the Tufts African Dance Collective and PADAME, the Harvard Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble, also performed during the event.

Other students individually recited excerpts from pieces such as “How to Write About Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina and “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela.

Moundou-Missi said that he felt the Faces of Africa event brought the Harvard African community together and allowed him to reflect on what it means to be African.

“I think it’s a way for us to get together and to learn from each other,” he said.

Raynor J. Kuang ’17, one of the audience members brought onstage to dance during an interactive portion of the show, said that everyone who performed during the show did a great job.

—Staff writer Yasmin Moreno can be reached at