Africa is the birthplace of a rich cultural heritage. The African Friendship Society aims to showcase the rich cultural and artistic diversity that exists across the continent, while bringing together all local residents of African origin in unity and shared identity, and while building a bridge and extending the hand of friendship to all other cultures to create a more culturally educated, accepting and inclusive Canadian and global community, in British Columbia and beyond.
Our mandate is to educate while entertaining, to promote mental and emotional well-being for all, social inclusion and community engagement through African arts, and help build self-esteem and empowerment within the African community through positive cultural identification. We also provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds to learn about and experience African culture, values, history and traditions in respect and friendship, while embracing and celebrating diversity. Our offerings are especially suited for:
· Children (especially the children of the African diaspora, of mixed relationships and of African descent who have been adopted by non-African parents) - they are *our primary audience*
· Persons with disabilities (our culture teaches us to embrace all souls)
· The Village (i.e. families and the community at large)
To spread joy, celebrate our heritage and increase awareness and understanding of the value, richness and diversity of African culture and traditions, through a wide variety of artistic, social, cultural and educational projects, events, workshops, festivals and activities, in French and English.
We hold a vision of a Canadian society that enjoys, appreciates and celebrates the value and contribution of people of African descent, where all African communities are successfully and happily living the Canadian dream while proudly preserving and sharing their rich heritage.
· We believe in the value of cultural contribution and the positive impact of a strong and healthy cultural identity for the well-being of individuals of all ages. It’s especially important for African people to be reminded of the positive impact of their heritage and contribution in Canadian society, whether they are perceived to be “successful” or not, and regardless of the widely spread misconceptions about “poor Africa”.
· We believe in Inter-connectedness, i.e. we are not separate from one another (including nature), which fosters a greater sense of collective responsibility and care.
· We believe in Respect and Dignity for everyone regardless of their “net worth”, especially for the elders.
· We believe that people can be united and empowered through African arts & culture.
Our approach is rooted in traditional values of unity, friendship, community and inter-connectedness, and on age-old wisdom from indigenous cultures, that are suitable for our modern world.
Our intention is to:
· Bridge the gap of multiculturalism by extending the hand of friendship to all individuals and all cultures
· Identify and unite the various African communities of GV and BC, through the arts
· Educate our local community and beyond about the cultural diversity of Africa, through the arts
· Support and empower individuals and communities of African descent in creating a Canadian experience that is firmly rooted in a strong and positive cultural identity
· Assist African artists in their efforts to share and promote their traditional art & culture
· Spread joy
What we do
· Cultural and Artistic Education
· Community, Connection and Entertainment
· Self-Growth, Wellbeing and Support
We invite you to come and discover Africa the way Africans experience their own culture!
For us, hospitality is a way of life, so rest assured that you will be welcomed like family at all our events, and received in celebration. Join us at our next event.