In Africa, Tembo is the Swahili word for elephant. Swahili or Kiswahili (known in
Swahili itself as Kiswahili) is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique. By studying the social behaviors of African elephants researchers discovered that,
among this species, adult males (or bulls) play a pivotal role in the socialization
of younger males in the group. Within elephant populations where no bulls were present
the younger males, upon reaching puberty, would often display destructive, antisocial,
behaviors that jeopardized the well-being of their herds as well as that of other
animals in the region.
The African American Male Resource center (AAMRC) selected the elephant as its symbol
in order to reinforce and reemphasize the significant role that adult men play in
modeling and shaping the attitudes and behaviors of younger males. TEMBO Squad is
an organization of Chicago State University’s African American male students, staff,
and faculty who are dedicated to bringing about positive social change through the
teaching and learning of traditional African values, customs, traditions and practices.
This approach is based on the premise that socialization is a key component of proper
education. The primary mission of the TEMBO Squad is to overcome negative stereotypes
and restore the positive image, perceptions, and actions of African American males
locally, nationally, and globally.
TEMBO Squad membership is open to all male students at Chicago State University who
self identify as African American. Students interested in joining the TEMBO Squad
must complete a membership application. Active student membership is described as
being in good academic standing with the university and having participated in at
least three (3) TEMBO Squad events per semester.
The TEMBO Squad meets every first week of the month as outlined in the calendar of
events. At the end of each month, members will participate in a group function that
reinforces the theme of the given month.
The General Body meeting is a monthly gathering of all TEMBO Squad members. During
each meeting, announcements will be made concerning past and future TEMBO events and
the floor will be made open to members who wish to share information, thoughts, or
ideas regarding that month’s theme. During these meetings guest speakers, books, films,
or panels related to that month’s theme will be presented to the general body; such
presentations are followed by an open dialogue and action planning session in which
members exchange views on the subject and plan events or activities that relate to
There should be a minimum of four TEMBO outings each semester. These outings will
enable members to become more familiar with the world outside of their university’s
campus. TEMBO outings will fall into the following categories:
- Cultural Outings-TEMBO Squad members will visit institutions or participate in events that are specifically
oriented toward African or other cultural traditions.
- Civic Outings-TEMBO Squad members will observe or participate in processes or events related to
civic engagement, social justice, or other socio-political activities.
Health and Recreational Outings- TEMBO Squad members will attend events and participate in activities that offer recreation,
while also reinforcing physical health and fitness (e.g. skating parties, basketball
tournaments, walkathon, etc.)