Time: Wed., 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p
Place: Room 160
Sponsor: David Ngbea
President: Ruby Johnson
Surviving a brutal civil war, leaving your home and coming to America are all unimaginable experiences for most Blazers. However, some students escape the poverty and terror of their homeland and end up at Blair. For them there is the African Club.
The African Club was formed directly in response to a large influx of immigrants from various countries across Africa. These students come to the United States and arrive at Blair facing a variety of problems, such as housing, language and assimilation. Led by David Ngbea, supervisor of In-School Suspension (ISS) and Blair tennis coach, the club was created as an outreach program to handle these issues.
The club also works to inform African students and their parents about American culture, education and the English language. "The main problem is usually assimilating. We want to make this process as smooth as possible – African customs are truly different," says Ngbea.
These cultural differences often leave African students frustrated and confused, as many wish to participate in extra-curricular activities that are prohibited by their parents. "The school systems in African nations are drastically different; you come home immediately after school," says Ngbea. "Part of the goal of the club is to get students involved in their passions and let parents know that this is customary."
Representing nations from South Africa and Nigeria to Ghana and Senegal, the African Club embraces all members; it also includes Haitians and other Caribbean nationalities. This huge mixture of nations can be tough to work with as each country alone can have an assortment of cultures. "Take Nigeria – it has over 200 ethnic groups, that means over 200 languages – that's a lot for one country," says Ngbea. This issue is remedied through the successful integration of an array of extra-curricular activities.
The club works to educate its members and the Blair community about the multiplicity of cultures through various mediums. They are partnered with the African Refugee Immigrants Foundation (ARIF) which provides support to many African immigrants across the county. The ARIF has helped the African Club set up dance performances to demonstrate some of the typical African dances during African Awareness Month. The club also performed a play and fashion show at Blair last year, putting their African culture on display.
The ARIF, through the African Club, also tutors students and helps introduce them to career options. "Every year we ask kids what they want to be. If they say diplomat, for instance, we will bring in a diplomat and the kids will get to hear their story," says Ngbea.
Both the club and Ngbea welcome all who need help transitioning to the American lifestyle or wish to lend a hand to those who need help in doing so.
If interested in joining the African Club, please contact David Ngbea during club hours
Club beat by Lucas Farrar