As we find ourselves in yet another Black History Month, a lot of people see this as the perfect (and sometimes only) time to showcase and remember key aspects of African and Caribbean culture and history.
But for the rest of the year, there are other ways to showcase our culture. One of these ways is through the African and Caribbean Society (ACS) that exists in most, if not all, universities. For those who haven’t heard of such, it is a society that seeks to promote the richness of African and Caribbean culture and also provide its members with opportunities for career progression and personal development.
At least that’s what it should be. I sat down with this year’s Vice President of Southampton University’s ACS, Nehemiah Odunlami, and discussed his thoughts on the society and how they aim to instil their vision into this year’s promising new members.
WS: What is the purpose of an ACS?
NO: The purpose is to help build a community for people from similar backgrounds and also to help educate the student community about the richness of African and Caribbean heritage.
WS: What have you got planned for this year’s ACS?
NO: The biggest thing is ‘The Culture Club’. This is a chance for everyone to engage with bigger and smaller aspects of African and Caribbean culture. For example, we’ll host Jamaican dub-poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. We’ll also have Ethiopian coffee and cake mornings as well as movie screenings of never-before-seen films and so much more. The platforms we are using present a refreshing approach to educating people about African and Caribbean culture. They’re for any and everyone to enjoy, whatever your interests or background.
We also have November Careers month where we’ll be helping people with their CVs, interview technique and applications for jobs and/or internships, both on campus and in the City.
Our annual Culturefest celebration will be a chance for us to showcase our exploration throughout the year and the talent in the ACS. Not forgetting ACS socials and our sports teams!
There really is something for everybody.
WS: What about those who say ACS is just for clubbing/parties and the occasional debate?
NO: I would say we are different from the stereotypical ACS. We’re focused on building a community and encouraging all people to get involved. We also plan to bring a large cultural element that I believe is missing in a lot of ACSs. It’s not just the typical social and intellectual events but we have a lot more stuff going on that we believe will differentiate us and hopefully leave a legacy.
So there you have it. An ACS that aims to enrich its members culturally and intellectually, build an open community, free from judgement and discrimination, and cater to all interests and personality types. I, for one, am very excited as to everything they’ve got planned this year and encourage everybody, black, white or brown, to find (and attend) at least one event that suits your interests (also, if you didn’t know this month was Black History Month, you should at least go out of sheer guilt).
Most importantly, look out for the Culture Club Launch on the 12th October at the SUSU Bridge Bar. Tickets are just £7 for students and £12 for non-students, so if you like jazz, poetry, music and culture, there is absolutely no reason for you not to be there. Let’s encourage one another and help this year’s ACS leave a lasting legacy.
Contact them on Facebook: Southampton ACS or Twitter: @SotonACS to purchase a £5 membership card and/or buy a culture club ticket.