West Michigan Jewels of Africa bring Pan-African culture to Davenport

The West Michigan Jewels of Africa (WMJA) brought the sights and sounds of a traditional African village to Davenport University’s Grand Rapids Lettinga Campus on March 14.

The fifth-generation Pan-African performers, some of whom are Davenport graduates, pride themselves on keeping their culture alive through educational presentations and traditional African drum and dance performances.

“This was an excellent opportunity to bring an educational and immersive experience to our Davenport community,” said Danielle Pipal, assistant director of Student Life.

The WMJA’s artistic presentations, which involve audience participation, help to revive, promote, and cultivate the traditions of African culture, history, song, drum, dance, and spirit.

“Our global diversity class covers a varied amount of material and approaches, including geopolitical, socioeconomic and cultural, with an end goal of better understanding our world,” said Shepard. “The Jewels of Africa event was fun and engaging and gave students insights into culture and music they may not have experienced before.”

Brooklyn Sykes, one of Shepard’s students and biological sciences major, said she had a great time. “The performers brought a lot of great energy to the room, and it was a nice opportunity to learn new things.”

Mikayla Hemmingway, a biological laboratory sciences major and student in Shepard’s class, said she found the performance educational and fun to watch.

For more information on WMJOA, click here.

Click here to watch the WMJAs performance


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