BASA club creates a space for African students on campus

The Biola African Students Association invites diverse friendships and culture.

Members+of+the+Biola+African+Students+Association+pose+for+a+picture.

Courtesy of BASA

Members of the Biola African Students Association pose for a picture.

Caleb Jonker , News Editor

Biola African Students Association launched on Jan. 25 with food and introductions in the Library Courtyard, but according to senior business administration major and BASA president Natuwa Basalirwa, establishing the club began about three years prior.

BEGINNINGS AND GOALS

According to Basalirwa, plans for the BASA club began in 2019. Basalirwa explained that before she transferred to Biola she joined a similar club at another school, which enriched her experience. When she transferred into Biola, she realized that the university would benefit from a similar club. 

After meeting BASA vice president Neema Joy Mbogo, a junior communication sciences and disorders and music double major, the two started taking steps toward launching the group, filing the paperwork in the Fall 2021 semester.

BASA was created to open a space for Pan-African students with the goal of facilitating engagement, outreach and creating a community where students can be themselves. According to Mbogo, the club is open to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity.

MAKING SPACE

The BASA team engages in conversations about Africa and its diverse cultures, but it also wants to facilitate connection between members of the diverse community at Biola.

“One thing we’ve realized through talking to friends and alumni is that Africans tend to come here and leave without finding a place,” Mbogo explained. “They kind of feel like an ‘other’ or even amongst each other it is hard for them to bring themselves together.”

After only two events Basalirwa and Mbogo feel a stronger connection to other African students across campus. BASA is giving students a space to connect intentionally with their peers from similar backgrounds, and grow those relationships in and outside the club.

Mbogo explained that their team seeks to engage with and educate students who may have questions about some of the African cultures represented.

Basalirwa noted that BASA is not meant to be exclusive. During their first meeting they were joined by students from various backgrounds, having conversations and enjoying a meal together. Mbogo said she loved seeing people coming together and enjoying each other’s company. 

One sign of their success was that those who attended were so deeply engaged in their conversations that they spent more time allowing students to mingle than originally expected. 

NEXT UP

BASA is currently preparing for its first worship night, called Afro Praise, a time that Basalirwa and Mbogo want to welcome students to worship in any way that feels natural. The theme for the Feb. 22 event is, “come as you are.”

 

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