A student assistant from UJ’s International office said on Thursday that the university’s International Festival could help raise awareness about xenophobia in the student community.
“It helps students to be open-minded about other cultures and be aware, maybe by that xenophobia can be on a decline,” Maipato Maako said.
The International Festival has been on the UJ events calendar for 15 years now and is aimed at celebrating the diverse cultures on the African continent through music, dance, fashion and food.
“It is an annual festival that embraces diverse cultures that the institution has, as we are a global university,” Maipato Maako, Student Assistant at the International Office.
Local and international students are encouraged to participate in the event. Participants compete against other countries to win prizes. Students who don’t participate are invited to watch the show.
With lots of prizes at stake, the stage performances at the festival tend to get very competitive. But the Congolese group have been hard at work and are ready for the challenge according to the group’s coordinator Oken Bodiomyoma.
“We have tried our best this year to prepare compared to other years. Due to how we’ve prepared I trust that we can at least meet the overall price, so we are confident,” Bodiomyoma said.
The competition is not limited to stage performances as students who are interested in the culinary arts are invited to showcase their traditional food.
“You can expect lots and lots of fish! We’ll be showcasing most of our local food, performances and singing our national anthem,” said Mwayi Chitengo a student representing Malawi.
Preparation is difficult and forces participating students to split their time in between academics and rehearsals.
“We took time to prepare but due to the event being postponed and academic commitments, some students tend to lose morale. But, we are ready to showcase indigenous dances within South Africa, the food and the clothes,” said Aluwani Chokoe, the group coordinator for the South African team.
The festival will be held throughout the day tomorrow at the fountain of UJ’s Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00.