MC celebrates ‘Africa Week'

October 23, 2002

During the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 1, Maryville College students other than those enrolled in Dr. Scott Brunger's World Cultures 310: Sub-Saharan Africa class will have the opportunity to experience Africa.

"Africa Week" is scheduled for next week on the college campus. The Blount County community, as well as the campus community, is invited to experience African history, food, music and religion during the five-day observation. Similar week-long observations are planned at other colleges and universities throughout the year.

Sponsored by the Black Students Association, the Peace and World Concerns Committee and the Voices of Praise gospel choir, Maryville College's Africa Week is organized to help shed light on the people, politics, culture and economics of a place many know as "the Dark Continent."

"I hope [Africa Week] dispels myths that Africa has no food, no clothes and no religion," said Brunger, associate professor of economics at the College. "In an African Studies class it is not sufficient to analyze African culture, you have to live it too. We hope that by having students organize Africa Week, they will recognize that African food is good, African clothes are fun, and African music is invigorating.

"I have very much appreciated the leadership of African and African-American students and alumni in organizing this Africa Week," he added.

Currently, African countries like Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan and Tunisia are represented in the student body. All of the African students are participating in the organization of Africa Week, along with an employee of the College who grew up in Ethiopia.

Frank Twum-Barimah, a junior from Ghana, said he has found planning Africa Week very encouraging.

"At Maryville College, we talk a lot about diversity and building one community of students," he said. "Africa Week has made me feel a part of this community because people are learning about and celebrating my culture.

"I appreciate the American students' response to these events and their work on this program."

A listing of the events include:

  • Worship, Oct. 29, 12:25-12:55 p.m. in the Center for Campus Ministry. Students from Dr. Brunger's World Cultures 310 class will be in charge of the weekly campus service. African-style instruments will be used during the music.
  • Movie showing, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall, room 205. "Long Night's Journey Into Day," a 2000 film about apartheid in South Africa and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will be presented at no charge. Dr. Chad Berry, associate professor of history, will lead a discussion following the movie.
  • Praise worship, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. Bartlett Hall Student Center, room 103. Members of the African Christian Fellowship will lead the service.
  • Gospel Music Celebration and Voices of Praise Performance, Oct. 31, 8 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Hall. Larry Ervin, director of minority services at the College and director of gospel choir Voices of Praise, will explain the origins of gospel music through film clips and demonstrations. Later, Voices of Praise will perform selections that represent more modern gospel tunes.
  • African Dinner and Music, Nov. 1. (Because of space limitations, this event, which includes a sampling of African cuisine, dancing and music, is open to the college community only.)

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.