On Saturday, we all gathered at the Rotunda of the City Hall in Kitchener for the African Canadian celebration of Black History Month. Outside, the Serbians were peacefully protesting the independence of Kosovo with flags unfurled. They sent us flowers as our event began. If you have never been to this event, you'd do well to go next year. It gets better every year- great food, great culture/s, great company, camaraderie and Africans decked out in fashionable attire- But for the fact that it is held indoors, it would be another great 'durbar' (gahthering) called by an African king!
Although this event is minus palanquins, chieftain litters and umbrellas, all the same it calls for royalty and this time, we had none less than the mayor of Kitchener, the MP of Kitchener -Waterloo, two MPPs and the commissioner of Citizenship and Immigration of KW. Each delivered a speech of releveance, inclusion and support. The leaders of KW did themselves proud.
This time around, I gave the keynote speech, ten minutes exactly, on "Re-inventing yourself in a new environment" . I think ,I look re-invented don't you?:) I borrowed a line from the Disney commercial which boasts the cutest little boy saying, "You can do whatever you want!" Of course (from my perspective and considerable experience), with much effort, focus and determination or, and this is true too, just purely by chance! Some people are lucky, or if you are so inclined...blessed! (It is far better to be blessed!) In any case my aim was to motivate and encourage. After my speech, four panelists gave us the indepth on their experiences.... 'win big, or moderately', each and everyone of them had to overcome great obstacles. The moral.... if you want to immigrate to Canada, do it when you're young and single and can return to school and work nights, while you have no children to care for....! This is serious advice from me and them. I think we should ask Canada Immigration to post that on their website. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
The performing group from the Southern Volta Association, gave a vibrant show of drum music and dance. The multi-generational group rendered an authentic feel of the Ewe culture of Ghana, at the end of which we all joined in with the GOTA dance and Agbadza.
I must mention the great food by the great cooks in the community, the smooth MC of the event and the drum solo of Gerima Harvey Fletcher, my friend in rhythm. A happy shout out to Phyllis Peprah who works incredibly hard for the success of this event, to Albert Soga and his family, to Atsu, Mike and Gustav, Evelyn, Emefa, Sena and Edem Quist. Here's a photo from Esther. This is how we do the Agbadza!