Sakata Afrika!

February 26, 2011

Projected photographs of eager Tanzanian students filled the back wall of Lowell Lecture Hall, as African beats mixed with the murmur of audience members waiting for the show to begin. Sakata Afrika!, presented by the Harvard College Alliance for Africa on Friday, February 11th at 7:30pm, featured impressive performances by Harvard student dance groups. Equally impressive was the cause to which the event and its organizers were dedicated. All proceeds from tickets sales will be donated to the Sora Primary School in Tanzania to fund school supplies and building renovations. To learn more about what inspired Sakata, the HAR Dance Board sat down with producer and co-organizer Hazel Lever ’13.

HAR: What does “Sakata Afrika!” mean?

Hazel: “Sakata Afrika” means African beat in Swahili.

HAR: That’s fitting! So where did you get the idea for this event? Tell us more about the cause.

Hazel: I, along with Francis Cambronero ’13 and Jessica Cheng ’11, was conducting an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign with Support for International Change (SIC) last summer in a village in Tanzania. At the end of the program, the schoolteachers approached us and asked us to help raise money to finish the construction of the school, and provide more benches and school supplies.

HAR: Is there a particular reason you chose dance as the art form for the show?

Hazel: I’ve danced all my life, and know people in all of the dance groups on campus.

HAR: Did you share your love of art with the children you visited?

Hazel: We painted murals at community day and a fellow SIC student taught a hip-hop class at community day!

HAR: What future plans does the alliance have for raising money?

Hazel: We have a 5k-race coming up in April, and we’re hoping to plan another fundraiser for the school, probably next semester.

HAR: How can we help?

Hazel: Donations are always accepted, with checks written out to Harvard College Alliance for Africa. You can also donate online at http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hcaa/.

HAR: Is there anything else you would like to tell readers?

Hazel: Working with those kids was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – all of them had unique goals and dreams for their future, but lack the resources to achieve them. They, along with their dedicated teachers, inspired the creation of this show. I could not possibly find more deserving and eager children to receive the chance at an education.

Talia Fox ’13, Dance Board Editor

To find out more about Harvard College Alliance for Africa’s arts and other projects and how you can help, visit them at http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hcaa/.

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