African Canadian Community Embraces New InstitutePublished Posted on | By TZTA News
Saturday October 20th was a historic day ushering in the birth and welcoming of Tabono Institute into the African Canadian community. In a riveting naming ceremony (called “Abadinto” in the Akan culture of West Africa), the organization was formally presented, accepted and endorsed by proud members of the African Canadian community. The popular traditional ceremony was conducted by Nana Kra Kwamina and Nana Kodwo Eduakwav, Traditional Chiefs from Atonkwa Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana.
They implored the attendees to honor the importance of creating a healthy community village and of promoting positive cultural values by supporting the new organization. The ceremony was accompanied by community drumming, overwhelming pledges of support, and enthusiastic cheering and participation from the audience.
The event was highlighted by Tabono’s announcement of several new initiatives followed by lively community discussion. First, Tabono volunteers Yolisa Dalamba and Dominique Chevers presented Tabono’s training and capacity building agenda and announced an intensive and comprehensive 3- module training project for Black youth workers working in the Black community , with the project set to begin in January 2013.
Tabono also introduced its research and public policy agenda. Dr. Erica Lawson, Chair of the institute’s Research Working Circle, gave a summary of Tabono’s initial research project to explore formal and informal culturally based promising practices to address youth violence in the African Canadian community.
Equally critical, Tabono treasurer, Louis March announced the institute’s commitment to developing an Elder’s Council. This decision-making body would provide wise instruction, strategic guidance , cultural reinforcement and legitimacy to Tabono’s agenda.
Attendees enjoyed several uplifting cultural performances. These included performances by the Nutifa African Performance Ensemble and Tiki Mercury-Clarke, a well known community cultural activist and performer prefaced her riveting and soulful performance by speaking on the importance of upholding African spirituality, culture and traditions as tools for building community unity and resisting oppression. Tabono founder Nene Kwasi Kafele also stressed that in addition to providing strong research, public policy and planning leadership, Tabono had to maintain a “cultural grounding” that “will embrace the rich diversity of the African Canadian cultural reality and would include storytelling, cultural archiving and other cultural programming and performance”.
The event also recognized and paid tribute to the recently departed Charles Roach, a longtime community activist, lawyer and human rights champion. Tabono Institute is a “Pan African institute that will provide a generative, collaborative African centred space for critical planning, coordination, public policy and community advocacy, training and research”,explains founder Nene Kwasi Kafele. Tabono encourages all segments of the African Canadian community to participate in its activities.
For more information on Tabono Institute programs and initiatives or about volunteering or donating please contact members of the Leadership Circle at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.tabonoinstitute.com.
Tabono’s Leadership Circle is made up of Thandiwe Chimurenga, Kasaun Bekele, Esi Shillingford, Zamani Ra, Nene Kwasi Kafele, Louis March and Dr. Erica Lawson.