PanAfrik 2012: A Cultural Masterpiece

Chidi Ilobi reviews the UCLU African Caribbean Society’s annual cultural show PanAfrik.

2012 ACS African Caribbean Dance Drama Fashion PanAfrik Rangeela show Spoken-word VOCE

A vibrant showcase of drama, dance and fashion, the UCLU African Caribbean Society’s annual show PanAfrik was an electrifying and a professional display of African and Caribbean culture.


The show was structured as a play, with dance numbers, fashion shows and various other thrilling forms of entertainment interwoven into the script. The cherry on top of this already satisfying cake was the running commentary by Nigerian comedian Funmbi, who supplemented the show with a fitting, satirical account of his own experience growing up in an African household.


Set in the fictitious ‘Pan City’, the running play was a comedic take on the trials and tribulations of abandoning the simple life at home, be that a ‘village’ or ‘the islands’, in search of better opportunities in the big city.


The story, complete with love, lust, betrayal and plenty of humour, featured all the characters you love to watch, from the mischievous player who learns his lesson the hard way to the nice guy who gets the girl in the end. A winning combination of a succinct, well-written script and hilarious, committed actors made for a thoroughly entertaining performance that left the audience longing to know what happened next each time the actors left the stage.


But the longing was soon relieved when gorgeous designs by African-inspired labels including Friday Born Designs (a clothing line that endorses an orphanage in Kwahu, Ghana), AW Impero and Tia-Mia were shown off in the fiercest of fashion shows. The stage was set ablaze by attitude-fuelled struts and dynamic poses by the girls and some bold vest-ripping by a few of the guys, who opted to show off their God-given (and gym-enhanced) accessories over any labels. This Buzz reporter certainly had no complaints about their creative decision.

The dance scenes were as lively as expected. A vivacious, dancehall-inspired number, complete with the splits and all the hair-whipping you could ever dream of got the audience more than excited. The show also featured a dramatic, contemporary tango number, some slick street moves and a delightful crossover dance act from the Hindu Society’s Rangeela show, which took place a couple of weeks ago (and featured a dance from PanAfrik).

My favourite dance of the night, however, had to be the lively finale. Equipped with an exuberant soundtrack, colourful skirts and energetic choreography, the girls (plus one rather limber guy) had the audience wishing we could get up on stage and join them! Throw in some inspiring spoken-word artists and a jaw-droppingly stunning performance from UCLU’s VOCE Gospel choir and you have the outstanding display of culture and talent that was PanAfrik 2012. If you missed it, I’m afraid you missed out… so make sure you're there next year!