SC State's Ujimaa Dancers and Drummers Participate in 26th Annual Penn Center Heritage Days Festival

Monday, November 2, 2009

SC State University’s Ujimaa dancers and drummers will perform to the “rhythm” of the drum during the Penn Center Heritage Days Festival. This year's theme is "HBCU Reunion Weekend - The Homecoming." During the festival, participants will celebrate the history of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The festival will take place on Saturday, Nov.14, 2009 from 8 a.m. to 8 the Penn School located on St. Helena Island, Beaufort, S.C. The Penn School was one of the first schools for imprisoned Africans.

The Penn Center Heritage Days Festival is a three-day cultural event showcasing the elite culture of the Gullah people of the Sea Islands. The Gullah people are the descendants of the slaves who worked on rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. They still live in rural communities in the coastal region and on the Sea Islands of those two states. Gullah people still retain many elements of African language and culture. Attendees will experience their folk art, food, music, crafts and cultural legacy.

Other special events that will occur during the festival will include demonstrations of the West African/Gullah cultural connection, including bateau making, quilting, basket making and live demonstrations of rice production in an authentic rice shack. There will also be Gullah storytelling, singing, African drumming, dancing, gospel singing, a craft fair and parade. An educational symposium will feature HBCU presidents and commissioners from the National Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage.

This is the 7th year that Ujimaa will participate in the Penn Center Heritage Days Festival. Named after one of the 7 days of Kwanzaa, Ujimaa means collective work and responsibility. During the Penn Center Heritage Days Festival, Ujimaa will perform a creative dance called the “harvest dance,” illustrating movements by Africans done while preparing meals and working in fields, and used to celebrate the fellowship of family and loved ones.

“It has been an honor to have participated in the Heritage Days Festival,” said Delvina Wescott, founding director and advisor for Ujimaa. “This opportunity allows us to showcase the various talents that SC State students possess,” she continued.

For those interested in attending the Penn Center Heritage Days Festival, a charter bus is available for $35. The departure time will be at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Nov.14, 2009 from SC State’s I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium parking lot, returning at 8 p.m.

For additional information about the Ujimaa dancers and drummers and to reserve seats for the Penn Center Heritage Days Festival, contact Delvina Wescott at (803)536-5276.