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Edmonton Mayor proclaims April 27 Sierra Leone Independence Day

By  | 2 May 2019 at 03:46 | 1948 views

A birthday bash to behold. This was what compatriots had in Edmonton on Saturday 27 April 2019. It was a dinner-and-dance to mark the 58th Independence anniversary of Sierra Leone. The event, organized by the Sierra Leone Association of Alberta (SLAA), took place at St. Sava Serbian Hall in Edmonton, Alberta.

The evening was a cultural showcase. It was a display of Sierra Leonean culture; especially with the food, music, and sideshows. There was a blend of African and western culture too. This came in the form of a special birthday cake. The cake was a confectioner’s delight. It was decorated in green-white-and-blue, in honour of Sierra Leone.

Guests were drawn from sister communities in the city. There were invitees from Turkey to India, from Fiji to Liberia, from The Gambia to Ghana, so to speak. The night was as much a party as it was an exhibition of Sierra Leone. A slide show ran silently on a wall, close to the stage, and in full view of dignitaries. It rolled out pictures that portrayed the history, civics, and scenic beauty of Sierra Leone

For much of the night, the air was filled with popular Sierra Leonean tunes. The dance floor was jam-packed well into the night. People were thrilled as they danced to bubu music by Ahmed Janka Nabay, old favourites by Steady Bongo, and goombay music by Dr. Oloh. Deejay Kelvin Kamara and MC Ouzzy DeFather were at the music controls, setting the pace.

As a prelude to the dance frenzy, Sierra Leonean Joe Hassan and his ‘Afric Edmonton’ dance band played cool, golden oldies of Sierra Leone. This was during dinner and before the speeches. Other live performances came by courtesy of Ndegbormei with their Gorboi masquerade. Their show was followed by Arie Edmonton’s showcase of the Hunting Society brand of Sierra Leone culture.
Yet the night was not all about festivities. There was high-powered networking from a Sierra Leonean perspective. The theme of the celebrations was ‘community development’. In this spirit, Sierra Leoneans interacted with the civic and federal government officials who graced the occasion. Many also had a chance to meet the chief executive of a Canadian humanitarian organization.

As special guests, City of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson (seen in photo with SLAA President Dr. Abu Conteh), City Councillor Michael Walters, and Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, each made speeches in praise of their Sierra Leonean hosts. They came with messages that inspired hope and optimism.

Wendy Fehr

Special guest, Wendy Fehr, spoke on behalf of the international organization CAUSE Canada. As head of the organization Wendy Fehr shared her experiences working in different parts of Sierra Leone. She cited Kabala as one of the places she is fond of in Sierra Leone. Another special guest who spoke was John Gaye, head of the Africa Centre in Edmonton.

Before Mayor Don Iveson left the party, he proclaimed April 27, 2019 as “Sierra Leone Independence Day.” The Mayor Iveson presented a certificate to the effect. The gold-framed document, signed by him, was received by SLAA president Dr. Abu Conteh. Reciprocating, Dr. Conteh’s wife Eudora also presented a plaque of appreciation to Mayor Iveson, on behalf of the Sierra Leone community.

Amarjeet Sohi Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities (right)

Earlier in the day, there was an official hoisting of the Sierra Leone flag at Edmonton City Hall, to kick start the independence anniversary celebrations.

The Gorboi devil of Edmonton

Arie of Edmonton

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