Student Association, based in The Hague: Tribez

Building a community is an important part of African Drops. A community of people with roots in Africa and / or a big interest in Africa. Creating this togetherness is something we believe will push us forward. We're glad that we are not the only ones who aim to empower people. 

Tribez, a student association based in The Hague aim to empower and educate students with African roots through various activities. Their activities range from networking events to fun theatre shows. A student association created as a collective, and something they can truly be proud of. We at African Drops decided to showcase this student association by interviewing some of the members. We asked them questions to get to know them better, personally and as a whole. We spoke to the members of Tribez, Fatima Osman & Rudy van der Beek. 

Rudy is one of the founding members of the association. Before the summer of 2019, he started a meeting with a group of friends with the idea to start an association. He took the initiative in the beginning of the process of starting this up and he had a key role in the growth of Tribez. He mostly coaches board members by having meetings with them on an occasional basis. This happens on individualistic basis, but also as a collective. For the training weekend he also provided the board with workshops on organizational skills.

Rudy van der Beek

Fatima been a member for a little over a year now, she joined in October 2019. Not only does she have a beautiful face (as she modelled for African Drops), she is smart too! She has climbed up the ranks within Tribez, starting as a committee member of activities, she currently holds the role of Board Member of Communications & Public Relations. She is responsible for the Communications & PR of the association, together with her committee. She leads her committee with the promotion of their association, its events, but also establishing their house style and tone of voice. Take a look at their Instagram page to get an idea at @sv.Tribez

Fatima Osman

First up is our interview with Fatima.

Why did you join Tribez?

'I really missed the sense of community during my study career, I wanted a way for me to further develop myself in a safe space. You could say I wanted purpose and community, that’s exactly what I found.'

What things do you enjoy the most as a member of Tribez?

'I truly enjoy the sense of belonging and having a safe space to make mistakes and grow. I enjoy the people, the vibes and the fun we have together. I have a governing position this year and throughout my journey I realise that it is a continuous process of learning and developing.'

What are the challenges you face being a part of Tribez?

'We’re a young association in the Hague and we want to set ourselves apart from the others. Making our vision and ourselves known to the public comes with challenges. I want this association to be a household name in the Hague and further expand within the country and having patience for this vision is definitely a challenge for me.'

What is your favourite activity?

'Our get together activities, I really miss the social interaction in real life. Due to miss Rona we’re limited in our physical activities but we have quarantine streams on our IG, with topics such as hair care, BLM and black authors. I do have to say my favourite activity to participate was the #dontrushchallenge it was so fun to do!'

Do you feel like you are more in touch with your roots due to Tribez?

'Yes, coming from a place where the inhabitants were predominantly non black it was hard to relate and receive real understanding for my needs and struggles. I’m not surrounded by my own people in all forms, Africa and it’s diaspora. I am learning everyday about our internal differences and how it actually makes us beautiful.'

How did Tribez help you grow as an individual?

'Definitely in my professional life, I find myself comfortable and known in social settings and engaging with people have never done that in a professional setting. I’ve developed networking skills, communication skills and how to present myself to others. I have gained tremendous work experience by being part of such a young and vibrant association and all the responsibilities that come with it. I’ve gotten to know my strengths and areas of improvement'

Have your expectations of the association been met?

'So far yes! It has been challenging and exciting. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing individuals, people I would not have met in my regular student life. This ranges from the diplomatic attaché of South Africa to the mayor to likeminded ambitious students.'

Who inspires you the most within Tribez?

'That’s difficult for me to answer. Many individuals inspire me but if I have to pick one, it’s gotta be Rudy van der Beek. He’s achieved so much by himself and has broken down previous barriers for us to build upon. What inspires me the most is how motivated he is to take everyone with him on his journey and wants to see us all succeed.'

Why should other students join the association?

'My number one reason would be to have a safe space to develop and further your position in this society. There a clear trends with student associations, and it’s a shame that BIPOC do not always have a place to fit in. Tribez stands and thrives on inclusivity, we are our community and we want to take every.'

Next up is our interview with Rudy.

Why did you join Tribez?

'My reason for joining, or to put it in better word, starting this association was because I felt that there was a lack of this kind of association. Most “mainstream” associations do not always cater to the need of students with a bicultural background. The student population has changed over the last 30 years, but the changes in the educational field do not go as fast to take this new diverse student population into account. Being part of an association and/or community can be very beneficial for students, this is where students can discover themselves, develop themselves and learn how to network.

Because many students with a bicultural network are often first generation students, they already start at the educational field at a disadvantage compared to their native Dutch/white peers.

 Personally I have also encountered this disadvantage and discovered this fairly late in my journey as a student. With this association, I hope to fill the need for many students with an African background to make the best out of their study time while they learn new skills, learn to know more people and that this can play a role in their foundation where our students become young professionals.'

What things do you enjoy the most as a member of Tribez?

'My position in this association is kind of different from the regular members, mostly since I have a coaching/overseeing role. What I enjoy the most is seeing the growth and developments of the members. Seeing shy or insecure people blossom up and finding their skills, and seeing people who for the first time have been part of a Black Community makes me happy. It is amazing to see how this association impacts each individual student.'

What are the challenges you face being a part of Tribez?

'People not being on time. Jokes aside, a challenge I foresee in the future is the sustainability of the organization. Do we still exist in 3 – 5 years? Personally I hope it sticks for a few decades.

The thing with many multicultural organizations is that (board) transitions can often be a reason for an organization not making it. We are quite limited with our choices for selecting candidates because being part of a board can be quite an overwhelming unknown thing for students with a bicultural background.

Also, being part of an association is quite new to our target group too. Therefore, we really have to invest in building up students so they can actually are qualified to be in a board.'

What is your favourite activity?

'I am quite biased because I gave an activity myself. I would choose between the Leadership workshop or the LinkedIn Networking workshop I gave. I enjoyed giving the workshop for such a large group of students. Of course, as the person giving the workshop, I am critical to some things which could be smoother that day, but it was an amazing experience.'

Do you feel like you are more in touch with your roots due to Tribez?

'As far as I can be possible. Coming from Suriname, a diaspora country, your knowledge to your roots only goes as far as the arrival in Suriname. Recently at an event there was a spoken word artist, who argued that a person from Suriname with African roots should still be perceived as African. As people with African roots in Suriname are the only cultural group not completely in line with their roots prior to arriving in Suriname.

 Since becoming part of this association, someone within our group from the diaspora did a heritage test to know more of her roots prior to the Atlantic Slave Trade. I have not yet decided if this is something I should do, but I embrace her finding more of herself through this test.'

How much African influence do you see?

'One of the concept names for Tribez was Ubuntu. Which is a Bantu term which can be interpreted as “I am because we are”. The origin of this philosophy is from the Southern part of Africa. This philosophy was also something which came into the discussion when coming with our mission and vision.

A majority of the students have an African background, the rest from its diaspora. Our culture, social events and target group is inspired by Africa. At our events you would not find “bitterballen en kaasblokjes” but cultural food which also takes allergies and diet wishes into account. Within our association people have the space to be as timid or “as extra” as they want to be.'

Have your expectations of the association been met?

'To a large extend, yes. If I look at the strength of the brand of Tribez, and if I look at how we are currently set within The Hague, we definitely have set some major achievements. Though, I wish we had more frequent activities. But this is of course because of the pandemic, which we cannot influence. But despite the pandemic, last year we have reacted very versatile with organizing live streams on a weekly basis on numerous topics. And even with this livestreams, I felt that the execution was very professional.'

Who inspires you the most inside Tribez?

'More than one person. The journey of many students inspire me in many ways. For example, Imaibel Pinas. She is a student with a visible impairment, therefore she sees as good as nothing. Despite her condition, she is very active within the association where she can, and I enjoy how she is finding her place within this community. Also Maxence Vrede, I recognize a lot from my younger self in her. She started off as quite shy and unsure of her skills. Yet, in a short period she is growing exponentially. Also the chair Maria Toko. I cannot think of anyone  more fit being able to be the first chair of this association. She is very multi-talented, wise and strong. I could not be able to inspire prospective members the way she can and is truly the leader this association can use for its starting phase.'

Why should other students join the association?

'If people want to be part of an empowering community, want to do and learn more outside of their study and want to rediscover more sides of their heritage, then this organization might just be the place. Based on feedback, we notice that students who come in become part of this new community, learn more every day and enjoy this wonderful experience.

Also, by being active within our association you receive a lot of coaching and training. We try to find everyone’s skills and talents. It can be something artistic such as singing or theater, to something as presenting and writing. Our aim is that everyone who has been active in Tribez becomes a highly skilled young professional.  You can also choose to just be part of the fun side of the association and join our many get-togethers (pre-covid).

Because of our branding, being a member of Tribez is also good for your network. With testimonials of students applying their skills in their new workplace or internships. But also Tribez playing a role with them getting an internship.'

That concludes the interviews, we'd like to thank both Fatima & Rudy again for making time for us to answer our questions. It was a pleasure to get to know more about Tribez. 

For anyone who is interested in Tribez and wants to know more, you can always check out their Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter page. Tribez is recruiting new members for their committee until the 30th of October, which is next Friday. If you would like to become a general member and be invited to their events are more, you can sign up for that all through the year.

You can find their pages and sign up form through this link: 

https://linktr.ee/sv.tribez

 

 

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