Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May worldwide, though only few African states do so with a national holiday. As a community intent on positively transforming the continent, African Leadership Academy (ALA) naturally celebrates the day with much fanfare – while using the opportunity to promote further learning, growth and collaboration.
As a major African Studies assessment for the term for Year One students, Africa Day represents an opportunity for ALA students to demonstrate collective leadership at work. This year, they were tasked with answering; “How can we reconcile Africa’s past with her present so that we can transform her future?”
Year One students were tasked with putting on an assembly and creating an art gallery that embraces the theme: “Present, Past and Future: Tracing our footsteps to calculate our next steps.”
In these images the Year One students are displaying their artwork and creative pieces in the form of various media. The images were photographed by ALAians Media (a student enterprise on campus).
Here, students reveal their reflections on Africa Day celebrations, what they most enjoyed about their shared tasks and what they learned from the process…
Wina Tamar, Mozambique
What I enjoyed most about preparing for Africa day was being able to work with different people and having to reflect on how we could better our future looking at what our ancestors had done. This culminated in me learning more about the past and realising that Africa indeed has a precious past that should be glorified.
From this process I learned to work in a group, I had never shared a written piece performance and was a bit sceptical about doing it in the beginning but it turned out to be more than I imagined and I really appreciate the effort my teammates put into delivering.
Njiowei Tsakeu Brain, Cameroon
I enjoyed the originality in the concepts tackled both by the assembly team and the gallery. Retelling a white tale (snow black and snow white was nothing but ingenious) and the rapping political pioneers was also very creative. I got a deep understanding of some of Africa’s story, especially the one with Mali empire and other African leaders such as Tomas Sankara.
The creative concepts for the assembly team were ingenious. Creating an equilibrium between facts and artistic pursuits was persistent in all the performances.
Greta Iteka, Burundi
I loved that we were unique in our presentations. The Assembly team came up with the brilliant idea to emerge from the audience and speak out their hearts about the Africa they are so passionate about. The gallery team has a very tight and neat organization. The delegation of tasks was great and the exhibition was very insightful. We could have found a better way to fill the space in our gallery, though.
Ooreoluwa Fasawe, Nigeria
I learned that things are made possible and real by just the little efforts of a determined group of people. I think that the assembly team was really creative and innovative. Thinking of a rap performance and cooperating towards that goal was wonderful to witness. The gallery team was so supportive and resourceful. Everyone had something that they were good at and would focus on for the team.
Jesse Mwangi, Kenya
The process of doing it was super fun. At first it was challenging but we soon got into it and began doing coming together with a concept that everyone was pleased. Trimming and adding where necessary and that was just one of the best displays of community and collaboration.
That I don’t always have to be in charge and that I can trust people to hold their own and do their part when the time comes to deliver.
The assembly team went rather well and I think that was because we had very good an organized members. We pushed ourselves even when we weren’t feeling. The gallery team made wonderful artwork and were very quick to decide a theme for their art .
Keabetswe Zondi, South Africa
I loved being able to express myself through the more familiar medium of acting, than mere analytical writing. Through the acting process, I was both learner and instructor. I taught myself to tap into the archives of my creativity that don’t often get explored in the typical academic classroom. I taught my audience about overlooked-but-phenomenal historical figures, through embodying them. On the stage, I became a better version of myself by being allowed to step into someone different, and something different.
I am proud of my year group. I didn’t think we had much in common at all so i was expecting a haphazard result. But, in the beginning our assembly teams had similar ideas for plays. Some took this as a lack of ingenuity yet even in the end when we changed our plays, we still had common threads: common threads of serious and deep storytelling, with a sparkle of humour. It really fascinated me to observe that we aren’t all that different as a year group.
Muchafara Andrew Shumba, Zambia
I was part an amazing bunch of people, that exhibited mad of creativity. My favorite part of preparations was that even though we had contradicting ideas everything fell into place at in the end. I learned that hard work pays off.
I think we fared well because we had lots of ideas to work with at the start and I think it took great leadership capacity to come up with something workable and incorporating everyone’s ideas.
Patrick Kamare Kiarie, Kenya
I LOVE painting and here at ALA I rarely get the opportunity to practice my art but this gave me an opportunity to put my passion for Africa while doing art. I learned that you shouldn’t dwell on your challenges too much but turn them into strengths!
DID YOU KNOW? The African Union (AU) was established as the OAU on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, when 32 countries signed the OAU Charter; 22 states have since joined the continental bloc.
How do you think we can reconcile Africa’s past with her present so that we can transform her future? We’d love to hear your thoughts and views.