International Studies & Programs


MSU Celebrates Africa with Halftime Show

Photo of Ben Ayettey smiling at the camera on a green field, with band members practicing behind him.Ben Ayettey practices with the Spartan Marching Band. Photo: Derrick Turner

During the MSU vs Maryland football game on November 18, the Spartan Marching Band performed a special halftime show that celebrated the great diversity of Africa and MSU's long history of collaboration with African partners.

Ben Ayettey, artistic director of the Ghana Dance Ensemble and a fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, collaborated with MSU musicians to design the show. He also performed during the show, leading the drum line.

The show featured:

  • Music from all regions of Africa.
  • A formation of the baobab tree, a symbol of life and resilience. 
  • A video featuring a poem by Suban Nur Cooley, a MSU PhD student from Somalia. The poem was read by Gigi Ngcobo, a MSU Mastercard Foundation Scholar from South Africa.
  • Colorful umbrellas used in West African celebrations.
  • Adinkra symbols from Ghana representing various themes such as unity and friendship.

Performers included:

  • Spartan Marching Band
  • African student dancers
  • 250 singers from MSU’s choirs 
  • MSU dance and cheer teams
  • Student athletes
  • Visiting artist and world-renowned musician Yacouba Sissoko playing the kora, a West African stringed instrument
  • Ben Ayettey leading the drum line, featuring Ewe drums from Ghana 

The celebration is a preview for MSU’s Year of Global Africa, which launches in January. During 2018, multiple units and colleges across campus will host events and projects focusing on MSU’s rich history of research and education accomplishments with African partners.

Image Gallery