On Nov. 18, the Colket Center’s ballroom quickly filled with students, faculty and guests of the Roanoke community interested in viewing the African Student Showcase that began at 7:00 p.m.
The main event of the showcase was a video that Dr. Pamela Serota Cote put together with many of the students, encouraging them to speak about the places where they were from. The video allowed audiences to hear some of the familiar languages and to see some of the cultures and traditions intertwined in the Roanoke community of the international students.
To represent the countries, the ceiling of the ballroom was lined with dozens of flags highlighting each African country. The countries represented by RC students also had poster boards surrounded by traditional clothing, jewelry, or other artifacts. Students, who were from the depicted nation, stood by their posters waiting to inform and answer questions from the viewers.
Each student hosting the event made his or her way up to the microphone to first introduce themselves, give the background of which country they were from, and lastly teach the audience to say “hi” in the language of that country, listening and sometimes laughing while everyone repeated back the foreign word.
Also during the showcase, a traditional dance was taught to the audience. As the music came on, many students came forward and demonstrated a traditional dance, and they came out into the audience and took the hands of some students and a few of the children and brought them up to the front. The new dancers imitated the girls and eventually were dancing along beside them.
During a break in the festivities, customary food was served in the back along with high tables with placemats set up for people to eat on. The showcase students walked around to speak with those interested in the different cultures.
This event was well attended by members from the community both within and outside of Roanoke College. The audience seemed to truly enjoy the opportunity to learn new words and new facts. The Roanoke College community is full of diversity and different stories, and this showcase highlighted that fact.