African Union to raise awareness at Ankara Night



The African Union will host Ankara Night in the Union ballroom on Saturday, Dec. 8. Presentations begin at 7 p.m., with a dance following at 9 p.m.


Sexual assault, the deaf community, colorism, bleaching and refugees. These are the topics UNI’s African Union seeks to address at an upcoming event.

On Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., African Union will be hosting Ankara Night in the Old Central Ballroom at Maucker Union. Presentations will run until 9 p.m., followed by a dance until 11 p.m. Food and drinks will be served at the event, which is free and open to the public.

“The purpose of Ankara Night is to create an awareness for topics that are not talked about within the African community,” said Gorpu David, a senior psychology major and president of the African Union. “We know that these topics exist, but we don’t talk about them because they’re kind of like a taboo if you mention them. If somebody attends the event, goes to that event and learns something from that event, they can tell the next person about what they learned, which creates an awareness for it.”

A variety of speakers will be present at the event to present on African issues. Tulia Mulibinge, a senior elementary education and TESOL major will be presenting her talk on sexual violence. Faith Aruwan will discuss colorism, and Shania Waller will be talking about the deaf community. The topic of refugees will be addressed by Winnie Akinyi and Fourtytwo Yet.

During Yet’s talk, he will explain his personal experiences and difficulties as a refugee, along with the healing process he went through. All of these speeches will be accompanied by singing, dancing and the recitation of original poetry in order to add a multi-faceted layer to the event.

The word “ankara” has a special meaning in the context of the event. It’s an African fabric which is known to be bright and colorful.

“Ankara is very vibrant, which speaks to the bigger cause,” Mulibinge said. “Though Africans go through the issues that they do, we’re still a vibrant people and a vibrant culture. With ankara being so diverse in its patterns and colors, it carries such a heavy meaning. We want to see colors that are bright at the event, colors that speak sunshine.”

The African Union on campus aims to be a platform for students of African descent or African allies. Mulbinge believes their organization allows these people to have a family on campus which they wouldn’t have otherwise. In her mind, it serves as a safe space for African people where they can learn about themselves and the issues that surround them.

“I really want it to be emphasized that the topics we’re talking about have a large impact on African students and students of diverse background who attend school here,” Mulbinge said. “We’re not just doing this event to do it. It’s because these are things that have affected many of us that attend school here. It’s important that our peers, faculty members and administration understand the struggles that we have gone through to be where we are at today.”