NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

African students hold fashion show

By: Cleo Brigham

Staff Writer

NECC student Tracy Mukami wore her traditional garb for the fashion showCleo Brigham

NECC student Tracy Mukami wore her traditional garb for the fashion show

Gold OmitorCleo Brigham

Even children attended the African Student’s Club’s fashion show

On Wednesday, April 20, the African Students Club held an African attire fashion show in Spurk’s Hawrylciw Theater. In addition to the many items of traditional clothing modeled, club member Ercania sang a Haitian song.

The club was also joined by former NECC professor Jane Thiefels. In addition to previously teaching English as a second language at Northern Essex, Thiefels is also a nurse and has traveled to Africa as an ESL teacher.

After the show’s finale, the club asked their audience to stand and dance with the club members instead of applauding.  After the show the students gathered for a reception including a meal of sweet plantains, spicy jollof rice, and chicken.

The garments worn in the show ranged from casual street or market wear like dashikis, brightly colored tunics from West Africa to formal wear such as men’s suits, printed dresses, and long robes called agbadas. Many of the items the students already had in their closets. Psychology professor Peter Flynn, the club’s co-adviser, explained that the garments displayed in the show were contemporary pieces as opposed to costumes or festival wear.

Secretary of the club and Kenyan native Tracy Mukami described it as “a safe space where people can learn about Africa,” reflecting on how she didn’t realize how many African students there were at Northern Essex before she joined the club. Another member, Gold Omotor who is originally from Nigeria explained that she felt at home with the other members, stating that the club is, “bringing African students together.”

Mudasiru Oluwafolakemi, president of the club explained that in addition to the club meetings the members of the African students club help each other find jobs, and sometimes go out bowling or to a movie.

Professor Peter Flynn and Sociology professor Sheila Pierre co-advise the club which meets every Wednesday at noon in C105 on the Haverhill campus. The club encourages African, Haitian and West Indian natives as well as other students who are interested in the culture, foods, music and politics of Africa to attend, as their club motto states, “We are all Africans.”