University of Pittsburgh

Department of Africana Studies

Affiliated Activities

The Shona Sharif African Drum and Dance Ensemble

The ensemble was founded in 1982 by Willie Anku as a diverse performing arts group.

The ensemble, under the direction of Oronde S. Sharif, promotes educational and creative presentations, performances, and workshops inform the community about the culture of Africa and the Diaspora.

The Ensemble aims to:

  1. Learn and perform African music and dance as they occur in their authentic settings.
  2. Create new forms of African and African derived presentations in a new theatrical context.
  3. Help students gain a broader understanding of traditional and contemporary life in Africa through music and dance.
  4. Create opportunities for students and other interested people to experience the music and dance of the African (both at home and in the Diaspora).
  5. Promote the study of Africa in global perspective through collaborations with other area-studies programs, international centers, professional institutions, departments, organizations, and public schools in the University of Pittsburgh and beyond.
  6. Promote the interdisciplinary study of Africa and African culture in the University.
  7. Study and perform music and dance in their cultural and social contexts.
  8. Create an environment of cooperation and collaboration among students, faculty, the university, and the larger Pittsburgh community that will lead to increased opportunities for research, teaching, and learning.

Kuntu performing Sarafina! a musical about students who led the anti-apartheid Soweto riots.

Our Mission is The study, research, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge concerning African American, African, and Caribbean affairs and culture.