On the 29th of November 2014 the Gambia Society in Southampton under the umbrella of the United Voice of African Associations (TUVAA) treated Southampton city with all things African. The members and their partners from other African countries including Zimbabwe showcased their cultures and heritage as part of TUVAA’s Africa cultural day celebrations. Well over 120 people attended the event including the Councillor and cabinet member for the communities Satvir, representatives from Southampton University, Solent University, Solent TV, Daily echo newspaper, Radio 101 FM, Awaaz radio, The 3rd Age Centre and the West Itchen Community Trust.
In his speech, Dr. Abdoulie Sanneh the chairman of TUVAA who is also a Gambian, gave a brief historical background of TUVAA including the important roles the pioneers such as the Gambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda society played in setting up TUVAA. The chairman announced that Nigeria Hampshire Society has now registered with TUVAA and many other African Associations have shown their interest.
Dr. Sanneh said the aim of TUVAA is to link up all African associations in Hampshire and help them with necessary trainings and support needs to improve the welfare of their individual society members. It also aim to provide a platform for Africans to share their cultures, values and traditions and serve as a centre for unified voice of the registered associations. ‘For us to achieve that, we have to adhere to the principle of unity in diversity as it is our moral obligation to improve human relations, celebrating pluralism, striving for common ground and mutual benefits. This is what TUVAA is striving to achieve, together we stand divided we fall’ said Dr. Sanneh.
‘This day symbolises a unified Africa in Hampshire. One that creates opportunities for our children and young people to engage in and learn about their culture and other indigenous cultures in Hampshire’ said the chairman. Such a learning process was manifested during the festival, as the day was groovy with all sorts of ongoing African based activities including live Gambian kora, singing and dancing. The first two hours took off with exhibitions of all sorts of cultural artifacts and posters from various African countries including the Gambia. There were stalls selling and showcasing African textiles, materials and dresses, children also enjoyed some face painting. Gambian ladies together with Zimbabweans displayed and sold their delicious traditional African foods.
Other activities included the national anthem, poetries and songs by Gambian children, drumming, traditional dances, imitation of a Gambian traditional wedding, and clad in same traditional shirts/dresses. The Gambian children led the crowd in a traditional dance followed by the Zimbabweans in their full Southern African traditional regalia. Zimbabwe Society (Zimroots) led the participants in an exciting game of “Pot balance” (i.e. a game of carrying a pot on the head and walking without touching or dropping it) and a lively interactive quiz titled “how much do you know of Africa? “The prize was won by the Gambian team of participants.
The Chairman of the Gambia society Mr. Alhagie Camara, thanked all sponsors including Red Coat Ltd. who were very helpful in bringing traditional clothing and artifacts from the Gambia to Southampton free of charge. He also thanked Kairo News for free adverts. ‘It is a testimony of their willingness to support their fellow Gambians,’ said Alhagie. Similar event will be held in June 2015.
Issued by TUVAA