African Community Nottingham Dinner Dance and Launch Party

By Patrice Musarurwa

8 December 2012 was a great day at the exquisite Marina African Restaurant along Alfreton road when the African Community Nottingham (ACN) was launched. This inaugural Black tie dinner dance and launch party was graced by guests and dignitaries including the Honourable Sheriff of Nottingham Merlita Bryan.

During the occasion which started at 5pm, the organisers of the event, Wonderson Chideya and Patrice Musarurwa outlined the aims and objectives of ACN. They confi rmed the need for a united front to address the challenges facing Africans in Nottingham and their need to showcase their contributions and success in the community. Many African community groups, businesses and professions were represented during the event. Certifi cates of recognition were also issued in addition to inspirational and challenging speeches. “The African community is blessed with academics, professionals in health, business, media, and awareness programs. We all need to come together at an occasion like this one and see which areas we can help and support each other’, said Patrice. Wonderson added that “It is sad that people are living comfortably in their own circles and failing to come out and make a diff erence. We are not asking for contributions in monetary terms but a contribution of their time and expertise”. Councillor Bryan commended the vision and eff orts of ACN in enhancing the wellbeing of Africans in Nottingham. She emphasised on the importance and timeliness of ACN and its activities. She noted that “this is an excellent initiative for Africans to take time to have dialogue, support each other and network. This is working on a wider, more inclusive program that would be a credible voice to articulate the needs of the Black Community. “I am openly inviting you to work with us and other stake holders in the ‘Community Partnership Forum’. You have made a very good start and have a very promising future” she continued. The Sheriff echoed other speakers and the founders of ACN in emphasising the need for having a united front to Africans in Nottingham. She requested that she be included in the ACN’s future programs including the upcoming summer programs. Citing the signifi cance of ACN’s achievement, the Sheriff stated that “I have lived in Nottingham for 50 years and at no time have l sat down for a meal with the African community group of this nature. I shall live to cherish this day for a long time to come” Summing up her speech, she urged ACN to move on confi dently by assuring them to “rest assured that l will back you all the way”. Victor Mukuruva acknowledged the work being carried out by Amdani Juma who runs Aids Awareness workshops through the Godfrey Higgins trust and the African Institute for Social Development. Amdani has been involved with the program since 2003. He received an ACN appreciation award for his activities. ‘Our attitude towards those who suff er from HIV and Aids must change. I would have hoped that at this point in time we would be educated enough not to shun or marginalise those with the condition’, said Mr Mukuruva. A psychiatric nurse, Anthony Okenwa reiterated the need for change in attitude towards the sick and the needy. He urged the need for positive attitude. He concluded by pledging to support ACN especially in matters relating to mental health. Swiss Ed, the proprietor of Swiss Global Finance located along Radford road urged Africans to maintain their cultures. He cited the need for unity, community and social integration which are core to most African people. He challenged the Africans to look at the good examples of other ethnic groups who have managed to keep their values. He was particularly worried about children’s confusion through identity crisis. He also called for ‘purity of action and thought’ among community leaders so that Nottingham can be a better place to raise children. Certifi cates of recognition were issued to various individuals and organisations. Michael Mandaza and DJ Beezet of Kemet FM were awarded certifi cates for sports coordinator and media communications respectively in absentia. These were collected by Bob Ilunga and Campbell Mtetwa on their behalf. Ngoma Band was recognised for its extensive engagement in cultural events across Nottingham through awareness campaigns, workshops and fundraisers. Ngoma spokesman, Ras Goodies, felt it was such a shame that the band does not get much support from the African community. He hoped that platforms such as the ACN will provide better engagement and participation of Africans in many community activities. This will enable them to witness what their African counterparts are doing. Mojatu Foundation was recognised for its active role in enhancing community information dissemination among Africans in Nottingham. Ms Kudzai Chilimanzi introduced the women’s forum which she runs with Mrs Ruth Chideya, Ms Sibonginkosi Gumbo and Mrs Onyinyechi Okenwa among others. The group meets regularly to discuss home related issues and matters aff ecting women including off ering support and advice. The group is open to anyone who is interested in joining. ACN has many exciting plans for times ahead. The group continues to grow and aims to incorporate everyone within Nottingham. You do not need to be an African to join ACN. Patrice concluded that “as long as you have an interest with African aff airs you are most welcome. This is what brings the great in Great Britain – cultural diversity”. ACN is extremely grateful to Mr Saif Alkaabi for sponsoring the event.

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