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Getting to the “heart” of the matter

“Whenever I told people that I was from Africa, they usually asked questions such as, ‘Do you wear clothes there?’ ‘Do you have a pet lion or elephant, or what about a pet giraffe?’ ‘Are there any cars in Africa, or buildings?’ And occasionally people would assume and conclude that I did not live in a house, but in a hut, just like everyone in Africa,” first-year Grace Kubikisha said.  Kubikisha, a Political Science, Philosophy and Economics major, came to Eastern from Zambia, Africa.

Along with many friends, Kubikisha decided to start a club on campus called “The Heart of Africa.”  The goal of the club is to bring about awareness of African cultures so that stereotypes cease to exist and common misconceptions about the way of life in Africa can be resolved. “In doing so, we hope to integrate other cultures so as to bring about unity among people,” Kubikisha said.

The club is open to anyone on campus, including professors, who are interested in learning more about the African culture.  They meet every Thursday night from 8 to 9 p.m. in Harold Howard Center 106, and the meetings include educational presentations on different topics such as traditional marriage in Rwanda.

According to Kubikisha, the club also has panel discussions and debates “to make it as engaging as possible and fun, but at the same time, we also do it in a way that is educational, so that regardless of what happens, people will walk out of the club with something learned.”

“The Heart of Africa” is not funded by the Student Government Association because it only recently received approval as a club.  The club members provide their own funding, and thanks to first-years Benjamin Lartey, Andrew Bilindabagabo and Achsah Chempola, sophomore Sarah Peiffer and senior Pierre Kolowe, who help Kubikisha run the club, it has made a great deal of progress.

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