Campus Construction Continues

September 24, 2008

Joseph HallA busy fall of academics, recreation, and leisure on the campus of Saint Anselm College has been joined by the buzz of construction this year. Read more

Author Azar Nafisi Speaks at NHIOP

September 16, 2008

Nafisi speaking at NHIOPOn September 10, Dr. Azar Nafisi, scholar and best selling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Read more

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Father Jonathan Welcomes 540 To Campus

August 28, 2008

Members of the Class of 2012 Participate in New Student OrientationFollowing a morning of unpacking and meeting new faces, Saint Anselm’s 540 new students were welcomed to the college community by Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., college president (listen to remarks at end of post). Read more

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Tinashe Mufute ’09 Discusses the Crisis in His Native Zimbabwe

March 4, 2008

Tinashe Mufute

Update: Tinashe Mufute and Prof. Poppy Fry appeared on N.H. Public Radio’s call in program The Exchange on August 18.

Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980, a hero of the guerilla war that won his new country of Zimbabwe independence from white rule. For politics major Tinashe Mufute ‘09, Mugabe was “my Dr. King, my Gandhi, my Nelson Mandela.”

In a recent talk at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, however, Mufute recounted how the freedom Mugabe promised was an illusion and the man “we loved so much would be the cause of pain for my family and all of Zimbabwe.”

After winning its independence, Zimbabwe was welcomed by the international community as “a beacon of democracy in Africa,” Mufute said. Its agriculture helped feed the region, whites were embraced as fellow citizens by the black-led government, and the country enjoyed a sense of purpose and optimism.

Mufute’s parents worked in the new government, along with his aunt, who had fought in the war for liberation while she was pregnant. It was a proud part of Mufute family lore that Mugabe took Tinashe in his arms as a baby during a rally in 1988. Tinashe’s father attended state dinners, and the prime minister attended family weddings.

But the promise of democracy vanished as Mugabe seized greater power. Accounts of brutality and corruption began coming to light, and life became dangerous for white Zimbabweans and anyone who publicly disagreed with Mugabe. Eventually, white farmers were forced violently from their land, and the agriculture and economy failed. Millions of people are starving in Zimbabwe today.

“To live in Zimbabwe is to live in fear,” Mufute said.

Mufute and his parents joined the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, putting themselves at risk of beatings and worse by the thugs who enforce Mugabe’s ban on dissidence.

Tinashe himself was beaten after he donned an MDC t-shirt at his boarding school, and he and his friends blew the whistles that are a symbol of the opposition party. Attackers put bars of soap in socks and beat the students in the middle of the night.

Mufute was 14 years old when his parents brought him to New York to live with his brother. He enrolled at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark and then Saint Anselm. His parents now live in Fairfax, Va.

To read more about Tinashe Mufute ‘09 click here.

The Connections Between Hip-Hop and Social Justice

January 18, 2008

Hip-Hop music’s pounding beats and pumping lyrics have become highly regarded by nearly every student in the county. On a chilly January afternoon, Saint Anselm College students, staff, and faculty filled the Cushing Center to hear Dr. Erika Dalya Muhammad present a new spin on this popular topic.

Dr. Muhammad gave a lecture entitled “No Borders: Social Justice, Hip Hop, and Pop” in which she described the strong and enduring connections between hip hop and youth culture. She also discussed how the powerful relationship between them can translate into social activism among today’s youth. She credits her efforts to those who came before her, especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who himself often used contemporary cultural references in order to create change.

Calling herself a “cultural worker” and a “creative hybrid,” Muhammad has worked in the Mount Vernon, New York area for years. The town, located just north of the Bronx, has close ties to the hip-hop community; it saw the beginnings of hip-hop and pop culture legends such as Diddy, Mary J. Blige, and Denzel Washington. Therefore, it was the perfect location to “employ the arts as a catalyst for economic development in the area.” And so, the Mount Vernon Hip-Hop Arts Center was born.

Muhammad described her work at the center and her desire to use hip-hop as a medium to encourage more participation in the arts along with civic engagement. She stated that one of her goals is to show young people today that “the world is bigger than they can even imagine.”