Students take part in cultural event

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By David Giuliani

Students from the United World College put on a show that was part song, dance, comedy and political statement as they presented “This is Africa” during African National Day 2008.

The large audience enjoyed the always-popular dance titled “Gumboots,” where dancers dressed in coveralls rhythmically slap knee-high rubber boots. The skit “AIDS Monologues” called attention to the plight of HIV in Africa and Angolan dancers performed a lively number.

Student Kiki Joubert of the United States explained that there are five shows over the two years that students are at the college.

“Every two years, there are five shows representing each of the different cultures — African, North America, South America, European and Asian. We just had African Day with 23 Africans in the show, and we had two acts with dances, political scenes representing the culture to show everyone in the community what Africa is all about,” Joubert said.

President Lisa Darling said the college has performances that highlight each continent so every student gets to see their culture portrayed and be a part of the performance.

“They take great pride in doing that and they all participate in several shows during their journeys here,” Darling said.

Darling said she and many in the audience love to see the kids perform the Gumboot number.

“I love that Gumboot dance, and it makes it most of the time for every cultural day. It’s always a crowd pleaser and great fun. But I think for me, it’s just seeing the smiles on their faces — the joy with which they do this. They are clearly proud to share their culture with all the rest of the community.”

First-year student Alvin Mwijuka of Uganda was working behind the scenes. “I love this show and it brings the community out and they feel sky high, I just love this.”

Audience member David Silva said UWC is one of the best things to ever come to this area.

“I’ve come to this a couple of times, and each time it’s different. I love the enthusiasm and the time that that they put into this shows their commitment.”

Steve Brenner was also in the audience.

“The show is wonderful; it’s just wonderful. These cultural nights are just the greatest thing I’ve every seen. I’m amazed at the vitality, and the talent of all the kids up there.”

Ethiopian student Mihret Lemma had a big smile and was enjoying the moment.

“I had a lot of fun, we did a great job — I liked it and I’m glad the guests liked it too.”