Afro Fiesta Desi Soul Redefines Identity

By Justina Kilumelume

The event formerly known as La Fiesta Desi Soul (LFDS) recently changed its name to Afro Fiesta Desi Soul (AFDS) to be more inclusive of all the student organizations involved.

Since its initiation, AFDS is one of the biggest Zoo After Dark events at K. It is an annual event that celebrates cultural diversity at Kalamazoo College. This year, the event is co-sponsored by the Black Student Organization (BSO), Caribbean Society, Kalama-Africa, K Desi, the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association (APISA), and the Latino Student Organization (LSO).

The event is comprised of educational cultural information and many traditional food items. The event aims to bring ethno-cultural student groups together, learn about different cultures, encourage diversity, and overall, to create a heightened cultural awareness on campus while still having fun.

“La Fiesta Desi Soul” was a name that the 3 founding organizations, BSO, LSO, and K Desi, came up with. The only change in the name is the addition of the word “Afro.”

“The word ‘Afro’ best represents our organization, and it fits in well with the rest of the name of the event,” said Mesfin Mekonnen ‘14, the Vice President of Kalama-Africa.

“The name change was necessary because this is an event that keeps growing when new groups join. It’s appropriate that we recognize and represent all the different organizations that are actively involved. We are constantly redefining ourselves, the individual organizations and what we are bringing to the campus community,” said Salwa Tareen ’14, one of the event organizers.

The name change goes along with this year’s theme: “Out of many, one people” sentiment shared by all of the organizations. These organizations feel that they are represented by the addition of “Afro” in the event’s name.

“Afro” is a combining form of the word “Africa”, describing all people and things of African descent. It’s also a unifying word for the different components of the diverse cultures of the whole African continent.

“Fiesta” means much more than simply ‘a party.’ It’s an occasion for everyone to come together to celebrate all of the good in their lives and cherish each other, a moment in time when nothing else matters.

“Desi” is a popular term among the South Asian Diaspora to describe people from South Asia, but also a unifying term that stretches beyond Asian borders.

“Soul” refers to emotion in music. The soul is where feelings are housed and most of black music was called soul music.

AFDS will be tabling throughout this week to give out more information about the event. This will be a way of getting the student population ready for the night of the event.

“Education is not only through text and pictures, but the experience as a whole. We are encouraging people to attend the event with an open mind; they shouldn’t just eat and leave, but they should interact in order to appreciate the cultural diversity on campus,” Tareen concluded.