The Nigerian Students’ Association is weaving together a night of cultural appreciation for their latest event, Ankara Wave. Set to run at Louis’ Pub on Feb. 17, Ankara Wave hopes to thread together all cultures on campus.
Ankara Wave boasts a full program from 8 to 11 p.m., featuring speeches, musical acts and cultural dances that primarily showcase Nigerian culture. After 11, DJ Daniel and DJ Lanks will take the stage for a pub-wide party. On top of it all, the NSA is encouraging all attendees to dress up in their cultural garments.
For Ankara Wave co-ordinator Femi Yusuf — who is also the president of the NSA and a seventh-year geology student — the event has a special emphasis on clothing, as he believes it powerfully conveys one’s culture through non-verbal means.
“It’s unique in a sense. You don’t have to say anything, you don’t have to express it vocally, but you can find out something about a person — to a certain extent, not fully — from their fashion and garments that they are wearing,” Yusuf said. “You can associate lots from clothing — it’s expressive. Everyone else can see it. It’s not like language, where I can say something and you have to decipher it.”
However, the significance of clothing to Ankara Wave doesn’t stop there. Yusuf reveals that the collaborative and world-stretching aspects of attire-making are what thread the entire event together — even down to the name Ankara Wave itself.
“Ankara is a term that is used to describe a type of clothing in Nigeria and West Africa — all of Africa really. It’s a fabric [or] a print that it signifies,” Yusuf said. “It signifies the relationship we all share. That’s why we decided to use its name. Ankara encompasses everything — the fabric is made elsewhere, many Africans wear it, and we all understand it.”
For Yusuf, the primary aim of Ankara Wave is to share and celebrate the different aspects of Nigerian culture with the University of Saskatchewan’s student body. However, he hopes that attendees also feel like they can come to Ankara Wave to share their own cultures, too.
“We have Black History Month every February that’s a time for people to connect and learn about Black culture and African culture. The social aspect is to get people to come together and see that by wearing their traditional outfits,” Yusuf said. “We want to see people dress up. You get to see Nigerian culture — we want to see everyone’s culture.”
Ultimately, Yusuf believes that Ankara Wave will provide a necessary cultural outlet for all students at the U of S.
“Individuals are always connected to where they’re from. Associating culture with identity is something that is kind of lost, as students, as we come to school and group ourselves into different colleges,” Yusuf said. “Our culture is innate in us — it represents our true identities. I feel like everybody should be able to share that identity with everyone else. [Ankara Wave] is about showing people who you are.”
Yusuf recommends that all Ankara Wave attendees dress to the nines — he promises a big prize for the best dressed guest.
Tanner Bayne / Culture Editor
Photo: Emily Sutherland