By Alexis Teasdell

Pan-Afrikan week is a huge celebration hosted at North Carolina State that sets it apart from many other Predominately White Universities in the area.  It’s something that is discussed all year long and several organizations plan for it with great precision. But what is Pan-Afrikanism and where does it come from?

Pan-Afrikanism was a movement that began in the 1900’s and was inspired by Marcus Garvey.  It was introduced to create a self awareness of African ancestry while encouraging people of African descent to study our history and culture.  This inspired Pan-Afrikan week at North Carolina State University.  Although it is often referred to as “The Black Homecoming” Pan-Afrikan provides so much more.

The Pan Afrikan Festival originated in 1971 as a initiative to attract African Americans to NC State. At the time there were approximately 200 African American Students enrolled here.  As time went by, the event grew into something spectacular.  From intellectual lectures from Chuck D, Sister Souljah, Michael Eric Dyson and so many more, Pan Afrikan seeks to inform, educate and celebrate African American culture. Many alumni and current students unite to witness the NPHC Step Show or to attend Africa Night, or to even enjoy some good food at the Taste of NC State.  There is something for everybody.

What about cost though?  Many may feel as though Pan-Afrikan is a great event but as low income college students, this just isn’t a good fit for them.  This isn’t necessarily true.  Pan-Afrikan hosts many free events.  From the Pan-Afrikan Pride Day and comedy show hosted by Black Students Board, Society of Afrikan American Culture’s “Black Culture Rocks” event, to Expressions (also by Black Student Board) featuring Georgia M.E. from Def Poetry Jam, free events are everywhere.  This is a great chance to meet alumni or other current students and have a great time.

Pan-Afrikan then concludes with Sunday Worship at Peace Church at 11 A.M. leading into Soul Food Sunday, as well as, the Alpha Nu Omega Gospel Explosion at four o’clock.  This is definitely a week to take advantage of.

Of course, Pan-Afrikan week is way bigger than anything that can be summed up in an article but for more information search Pan Afrikan 2011: Redefining the Soulful Experience on Facebook. This is a great event to attend as we conclude the year and also a great tradition to look forward to for years to come.