To celebrate MARNDA Week at University Hall (UniHall) this year, residents Tyson and Nixon created the new and very entertaining Shenton’s Got Talent night.
MARNDA means “coming together” and that’s what MARNDA Week is all about. It was created to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture on campus at The University of Western Australia (UWA).
It’s a cultural week guided by UWA’s Western Australian Student Aboriginal Corporation (WASAC); .a student-run organization. They educate others by honouring Indigenous culture and advocating its significance on campus.
“At UWA, Indigenous students make up 3-4% of the student body. We’re a small community, so it’simportant for us to make a presence,” says Tyson McEwan, President of WASAC and current UniHall resident.
With support from the Student Guild, students are able to host free events throughout the week, giving Indigenous students the opportunity to share their cultural traditions. Whether it be through food or entertainment, MARNDA Week is a means of inviting others into the lives of Indigenous people in the contemporary society of today.
“There are a lot of cultural clashes and stereotypes. This week gives us a chance to show who we really are,” explains Nixon Hamlet, current UniHall resident and committee member of WASAC. “MARNDA Week is really important to me. I have the opportunity to show who I really am without the false advertising and stereotypes from the media.”
Together, Tyson and Nixon organised Shenton’s Got Talent to showcase the incredible talent of Indigenous students from UWA and UniHall.
“It’s called Shenton’s Got Talent because it shows that we can do various things and we have different talents.” says Tyson.
The performers of the night included past and present UWA students and it was open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike. The night kicked off with Nixon, the MC for the night, welcoming everyone and sharing his Indigenous background.
The performances included a wide range of talents from playing the didgeridoo, to a comedian, singersand rappers. It was great to see all the many talents of the students, some of which were residents living at UniHall. Even the organizers, Tyson and Nixon performed a dance at the end.
“During MARNDA Week, I mainly want non-Indigenous students to understand what it means to be Aboriginal in Australia. To teach others that being Aboriginal isn’t just a constructe of ideas from other people, it’s more than that, it’s a lifestyle.” says Nixon.
The final event of the week is PAC and WASAC Cheese & Wine being held at the Tavern. It’s sure to be a great time!
Written by Renne Campbell-Sobers, University Hall Student Reporter