Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration

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CLASS OF 2020

Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration 2020 Booklet

On behalf of the Pan-Afrikan Recognition Planning Committee, graduates are encouraged to register for the Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration.

Postponed Until Further Notice

This celebration recognizes Cal State Fullerton’s African American graduates. If you would like to participate, please register at the link below. Please remember there is a $10 registration fee that covers your Kente Stole, Program Souvenir Booklet, and up to 7 Guest Tickets (no refunds). You will receive your Kente Stole at the celebration.


If you have any questions, please contact aarc@fullerton.edu

HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE KENTE CLOTH STOLES

Since at least the 1970s, African American graduates -particularly university graduates- wear a kente cloth stole over their graduation robes. The kente cloth stole represents the graduates' pride in their restored Afrikan heritage, and their pride in their accomplishment of graduating. The Kente Cloth is a material produced from the Western African hemisphere, and direct ties to the stolen lineage African American had endured due to the American enslavement trade.  

Kente cloth is deeply intertwined with the history of the Ashanti nation. The Ashanti Empire or Confederacy, which was located in what is today Ghana, first emerged in West Africa during the seventeenth century. The Ashanti are members of the Akan people who speak the Akan or Ashanti dialect. The word “Kente” which means basket comes from the Akan or Ashanti dialect. Akans also refer to Kente as nwentoma, which means woven cloth. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their special meanings and stories. But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the emergence of the various Ashanti Kingdoms to the development of the slave trade up to and including contemporary life in Ghana.

According to Ashanti legend, two farmers, Krugu Amoaya and Watah Kraban, from the village of Bonwire, came across a spider, Ananse, spinning the web. Amazed by the web’s beauty, the farmers returned to their homes eager to try and recreate the web.  They wove a cloth first from white, and then black and white, fibers from a raffia tree. They then presented their cloth to the Ashanti Asantehene, or king, Nana Osei Tutu (who reigned from 1701 to 1717).

As descendants of ancestors that come from the West African Ashanti Empire, African American students pay homage to their ancestors by wearing the kente stoles during graduation. 

THE ADINKRA SYMBOL

NASA SYMBOL BLACK EXCELLENCE

The Adinkra Symbols are believed to be originated from Gyaman, present day Côte D’Ivoire (West Africa). The King of Gyam wore pattered cloth as he was taken away from his kingdom. These myriad of symbols are now used in cloths that is specially made from the region to mark movement in one’s life due to special events, such as funerals and weddings. These patterns are made in wooden blocks stamps made from the bark and roots from the Kuntuni trees, trees native to the region. Even the ink used to mark the cloths are natural and not made to last beyond the event they were intended for.

This particular symbol holds a meaning Authority and Genuiness. For the Pan-Afrikan graduation, we are focusing on the third meaning of Excellence. The phrase associated with this symbol is “nea onnim nsaa oto n'ago” (Pronunciation aid) which loosely translates to, “the One who knows this blanket (fabric) will spot it from the fakes and buy it even when its old;” meaning that true excellence is easily spotted and should be cherished no matter how much time has passed since this moment, celebrate it-celebrate you and all that you have accomplished.