Why We Need African or Nigerian Students' Associations

A few answers come to mind:


Fashion Shows (occasionally) to show off your latest treasures from the tailor

Vigorous Dances

More Parties ...

But of course I am being sarcastic.

When you (a Nigerian or African student) come to study in a foreign country, one of the first things you learn is that like it or not, you have been selected to be an ambassador for your country. People, random strangers, classmates, church members, professors, wild animals will approach you with questions, many of which stem from ignorance and bias, but which you are expected to answer.

While you might not always have a good answer or any answer for that matter, those questions will get you thinking.  If there is an African or Nigerian Students Association or Organization in your school, you will quickly discover that the power of community can be used to tell a different story.

Having an African Students Association (ASA for short) will depend on the number of African students present in your school.  It may or may not be combined with Caribbean students to form a single organization.  However, if you are lucky and attend a school with a sizeable Nigerian community, there will probably be a Nigerian Students' Association (NSA for short).  Of course, they are social organizations, and as such they do what social organizations do: organize parties social activities.  In the Fall or Spring, there will be an African Students' Night where they showcase their cultures through dance, drama, fashion parades, etc.

But, beyond all the partying, etc, is there any other purpose for such an organization on campus? Yes.

In my opinion, such an organization should serve a greater purpose: it is a platform for these students to tell a different story about their countries through organized events and awareness. It is also a crucial support system for students, many of who spend years away from their home countries and families.

I believe there are multiple opportunities for students to do this outside of the one day set aside in the Fall or Spring for an African Night.

Your turn:  What purpose do you think African (or Nigerian) students organizations serve on school campuses? Are they necessary?

*Images Source: Flickr

let's not get started on the issue of ignorant questions some Caucasians ask smh...

Nollywood Reinvented: Coincidentally, that's what Thursday's post addresses. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I have had to ask myself if maybe they're right. Maybe we really don't wear clothes and have tails ... Let me check .... Nope! Still wrong!

I was addicted to my school's ASA during undergrad and was president my senior year. Ironically enough, a lot of the people that were actual international students (as in they are here on student visa, not moved during k-12) didn't really want anything to do with ASA (or any structured gathering of Africans/Nigerians). A good chunk of the org was actually made up of African-Americans and Caribbean Islanders.
Anywho, we def served a bigger purpose than just the parties. We were (and still are) a family. We did community service, we were liaisons to the Africana Studies department, we had a philanthropy (during my year it was Sons of Lwala) and we participated in a lot of community programming among other things. And perhaps the biggest purpose: educate the masses about promote ongoing dialogue about Africa.

Lady Ngo

Lady Ngo: Sounds like we have some things in common. I also served as President in my senior year. But our own association was made up of Africans and people from the Caribbean. And like you, we went beyond parties to educate and inform. It was a pleasure reading your experience. Thanks for sharing!

Nollywood Reinvented: Too late o! Lol! But both Caucasians and African-Americans are guilty sha.

Such associations also provide a sanctuary for students to bond together in a situation where you feel alone and dis-empowered. It allows you to create a pseudo-family where you might not have any around or where you might not have people that understand your educational plights.



I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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