Boston’s 7th Annual African Festival

Saturday 29th July was marked by the colorful celebration of music, food and culture from different countries on the African continent. Boston was privileged to enjoy the 7th Annual African Festival presented by the Shalupe Foundation. With performances by Georgette Adjie from Cameroon, and a special appearance by Miss Africa New England, Sabrina Ali, the Greenway Park was bustling with art and wonder.

Vendors from Worcester were selling beautiful, handmade attire from Zimbabwe, Cape Verdean jewelry makers were beckoning with their shiny merchandize, the calming whiff of  African black soap, natural shea butter, essential oils, and of course the mouth watering and tantalizing spicy food from Africa. Congolese fried plantain, Cameroonian Beignets and beans, and Jollof were all present, vying for the attention of hungry buyers.

Members of AiB were in attendance to participate in the day’s festivities, interacting with people of African descent, and lovers of different African cultures.


Elisa Miranda and Flossy Azu, Events Manager and Communications Manager of AiB enjoying the event

The festival was well attended

 

Author:  Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager 

Audiofrica Music App Launches

Music is a beautiful part of African culture and lifestyle, hence, a lot of Africans have cultivated a passion for, and find joy in music. Sharing in the music that unites Africans, across the globe, is the vision behind Appsfrica,’s mobile music App and online music platform, Audiofrica.

The first of its kind, Audiofrica is a music platform which brings Afro and Afro-Caribbean music from well known and beginning artists to its listeners. Being fully comprehensive, engaging and easy to use, the app possesses a number of unique features in its design. Not only does it contain a plethora of music, and podcasts, it also allows its users to stream music videos, and utilizes both text and voice search features.

Audiofrica is the go-to app for live streaming thousands of African radio stations, to listen, buy, and download songs and albums as well as chat with artists and other users.

The nonprofit arm of the app, Audiofrica Cares will be giving a portion of generated revenue to feeding the homeless, both in the local communities and in Africa. Speaking on this venture, the founders touched on the spirit behind AudiofricaCares, the victims of the Sierra Leonean civil war, many of whom still struggle today.

Getting to be a part of the star studded Launch Party night at the Hibernian Hall, AiB enjoyed performances and music by CodeWine Deejays

                                 

AiB Communications Manager, Flossy Azu and Executive Director, Jeff Siaw with a few of the founding members of Audiofrica

 

Author:  Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Miss Africa New England Beauty Pageant, 2017

The contestants of the 2017 Miss Africa New England
From left to right: Miss Ghana, Miss Liberia, Miss Mali, Miss Nigeria, Miss Somalia and Miss Congo

On Saturday, the 15th of July, Africans in Boston had the pleasure of attending the Miss Africa New England Awareness beauty pageant, which was put together by Miss Africa New England-USA Org, and held at the Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The aim of the pageant being to unite young women of African descent, in order to empower them, and to unite members of the African Diasporan community to address issues they face. Additionally, the pageant will be used as a platform to organize community activities, events and service projects to support and assist the underprivileged Africa and in the New England area.

This year’s pageant was geared towards raising awareness of mental health, and the winner of the pageant, serves as the ambassador educating people on mental health, especially  in the African community. In addition to creating awareness, the winner of the pageant will be assisting the organization to implement basic health care benefits, infrastructure and education amenities and creating unity and networking opportunities within the African Diaspora community.

The eight beauty queens represented countries from Africa, which they trace their heritage to, and they participated in different segments, including a talent segment where the queens showcased some of their best work. The hall was abuzz with electrifying spoken word pieces and captivating performances as the ladies kept the audience enthralled with beauty, brains, and composure.


Miss Nigeria preparing for the talent section of the pageant

The judges critically considered each participant’s articulation, pride, demeanor and contribution to the community, as the criteria for the competition. This seemed to be an easy feat for the contestants who showcased the best of themselves on the stage before the bustling audience of about 300 attendees. Kayla Ezeama- Nigeria, Amanda Kuffoh- Ghana, Judith Lushike- Democratic Republic of Congo, Karelle Sylla- Cote d’Ivoire, Musu Yengbeh- Liberia, Sabrina Ali- Somalia, Prisci Mwanza Zambia and Korotoumou Dienta of Mali were the breathtaking contestants, displaying their national cultural richness.

At 4pm on Saturday afternoon, the doors opened with the red carpet event and the night was underway! The success of this pageant holds a lot of significance in the local Diasporan community because mental health is a crucial issue that affects many people. However, mental health is seldom addressed in African communities, so the topic is little understood as it is treated as taboo.

This year, Africans in Boston (AiB) was honored to be a part of the VIP invitees to the pageant. Impressed by MANE-USA’s important work in the community, especially where there is alignment with AiB’s own mission of empowering members of the African Diaspora through creating opportunities for beneficial networking.


Miss Ghana, doing her spoken word piece for the Talent Section


Miss Ghana Somalia presenting a piece on Mental Health stigma in the community


Miss Mali presenting a piece during the pageant


Miss Congo captivating the crowd with her presence

The night was marked with beautiful young ladies showcasing their intellect, their public speaking skills, issues that they are passionate about, and aspects of their culture.


First Runner Up (Miss Ghana), Second Runner Up (Miss Zambia) of the Miss Africa pageant with the 2017 Winner of the Pageant

At the end of the night, Miss Somalia, Sabrina Ali was crowned Miss Africa New England. Along with her crown, she received a modelling contract, and eligibility to compete in the Miss Africa USA contest. Becoming the ambassador in the community, she will raise awareness on mental health among the African Diaspora, helping to educate people and change notions that currently exist. The beliefs among the community now prevent people from seeking professional help they need because of the stigma that exists surrounding mental health, and people viewing them as evil or cursed. Sabrina Ali, the 2017 Miss Africa New England will be talking on early intervention, and treatment ad the importance of support groups to assist people who are struggling with poor mental health.


Jeff Siaw, AiB Executive Director with Miss Somalia, who won the pageant


Miss Africa New England 2017, with First runner Up, the MCs for the Night, Obayaa Ajeiwaa and MC Omo

Author:  Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African Health Cup 2017


Delicious food, great matches and body moving music, were the order of the day

On Saturday the 15th of July, the 8th Annual African Health Cup was held at Cawley Stadium, Lowell, where twelve teams representing African countries played for the coveted title of champion.

The event was put together by Africans For Improved Access (AFIA) and the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC), and their sponsors and partners, like Lowell Community Health Center, which was providing free and confidential health screening.

Food vendors, selling famous African cuisine like jollof, fried plantains, and goat stew, and vendors making signature smoothies made the event a fun filled and family friendly affair. Various community groups were also present, engaging the crowds with information about goods and services that they provide and how they are available to the community.

The crowds were entertained by Afrobeats and Afro-Caribbean sounds provided by DJ Emteezy, who played an array of current hits, and old school from all over the continent.


Leadership of AiB at the 2017 African Health Cup


Ghanaian Members of the AiB Leadership Team with the Ghana Worcester Soccer Team

Members of the African Diaspora, Africans and friends of Africa were present at the event, meeting each other, connecting and participating in fun-filled activities that brought them closer giving them an opportunity to learn about different ways in which they can be supportive.

Africans in Boston garnered a good group of new members with skills in the financial, technology and the social benefit worlds. These new members were excited to get to know more about the organization and build forward the mission of AiB.

Flags of Africa

More Flags of Africa

 

Authors/Contributors:  Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager – Joshua Mendes-Yesufu, AiB IT Manager

 

 

Bastille Day 2017

The 14th of July, 1789 was a phenomenal day in the history of France, because the storming of the Bastille prison signified a flash point in the French revolution. This historical day is especially monumental because it signifies to French people the importance and power behind the unified strength of the citizens. The day celebrates “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” which are the tenets of the republic, hence patriotic pride rather than political history of the day.

Celebrations around the world unite the French people in their shared patriotic passion, in their love for their culture and their history. From Canada, to the Phillippines, French people commemorated the day with their own French traditions.

Boston was not left out of the joyous celebrations of the day, as French people, French speakers and French lovers sauntered the street in front of the French Cultural Center. The day was marked with music, food and networking.

The day was attended by the French Consulate who brought along their families and friends to network and enjoy the significant day with everyone.

Teranga Restaurant, a Senegalese restaurant had a busy stand, bustling with people trying their delicious food for the first time, and with their faithful customers coming back over and over again for more. Teranga Senegalese Restaurant at 1746 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118 has an array of delectable West African cuisine which excited the tastebuds on a culinary journey of palatable excellence.


Teranga Restaurant at Bastille Day

The restaurant was one of the best patronized of the night, with lines forming almost from the very start of the night’s festivities at 6pm, to deep into the night, being the last stand to still be serving customers warm food.

Wine, cheese, jambon et formage (ham & cheese) sandwiches, the giggles of happy children with Tricolore painted faces, and the hearty laughs of full bellies filled the streets with warmth and the celebration of the festive day.

The sweet smells of fresh warm Belgian waffles wafted and embracing the throngs with mouth-watering goodness.

Other food and drink were presented by Mr. Crepe serving fresh tantalizing crepes. Lavoile a French brasserie located on Newbury Street, Boston and Beacon Street, Brookline. Bastille Kitchen in Boston’s Fort Point district, reminiscent of bistros found along the Parisian streets.

Bar Boulud, a French inspired bistro and wine bar known for its French menu and New England dishes. New England’s own Wilson Farm was also present with farm-fresh cheeses and breads.

The night’s mainstage was headlined by French soul singer-songwriter, Ben l’Oncle Soul, who mesmerized the crowd with his rich soulful voice and got the crowd moving with his smooth sound.

Ben l’Oncle serenading the crowd with his enthralling sound

Prior to Ben l’Oncle taking the stage, the crowd was warmed up by Senegalese Daby Toure. Daby Toure, a singer and songwriter with an amazing sound and a unique global perspective. Living between Montreal and Paris, and being of Senegalese descent, the artist astounds his audiences with a powerful ethereal voice, talented finger work on the strings of a guitar, and captivating stage presence. He engages the crowd in call and response, they to join in, creating finger work on the strings of a guitar, and captivating stage presence. He engages the crowd in call and response, they to join in, creating an electrifying atmosphere.

Daby Toure

Daby Toure had some CDs on sale, where he signed copies for fans, and took pictures with adoring fans who were in love with his sound.

AiB Communications Manager Flossy Azu with Senegalese Artiste Daby Toure

 

It was a beautiful and cool night filled with warm and experiences to be repeated next year, and AiB was glad to be a part of the momentous day.


Author: Flossy Azu, AiB Communications Manager

 

 

 

AiB meeting with candidate for City Council in Worcester’s 3rd District: Davis Asare

Cambridge, Massachusetts  – Saturday, May 27th 2017

AiB Executives Voury Ignegongba ( left) and Jeff Siaw ( right)  met with Mr. Davis Asare in Cambridge sipping through Rwandan coffee and Caramel macchiato cups.

Mr. Davis Asare is running for City Council in Worcester’s 3rd district. He is a graduate of Bartlett High School in Webster, MA then went on to higher education at the Wentworth Techology where he received his degree in Electrical Engineering with a Minor in Applied Mathematics. Since graduating from college Mr. Asare has opened two companies “A Plus Services” and “Asare Engineering” while currently holding a position at Aircuity as a Consultant. Mr. Asare has also been very active in his community from a young age, volunteering his time at the Boys and Gilrs Club of Webster-Dudley. He has also volunteered with ACE mentoring, Our Bright Future, the Mathcounts Foundations, FC Napoli, and is currently a member of the Citizen Advisory Council for the city of Worcester. Mr. Asare and his high school sweetheart, Stephanie live in Worcester with their two children Aniyah and Ayden.

Proposed ideas focused on forming valuable connections between the African Diaspora communities in Boston and Worcester, supporting businesses and showcasing different events and ventures that the members of both communities are involved in.

Both AiB and Mr. Asare will be participating in the 8th Annual Health Cup (AHC) scheduled to occur on Saturday July 15th 2017 at the Cawley Stadium, 587 Douglas Road in Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts. The first games will commence promptly at 9am and will continue until 8pm. The event is organized by the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC), a non-profit organization founded in 1989 that aims to mobilize communities of color to end HIV. The African Health Cup, an annual soccer tournament is one of the MAC’s most successful social initiatives in recent years.

At the African Health Cup this year, AiB is partnering with MAC to ensure the success of the event. Through generating public interest, AiB will be present to support the success of the event, and engage with community members, creating buy-in for the impactful work that both organizations are engaged in.

Mr. Asare will also be in attendance, interacting with the community, and backing the admirable agenda of eliminating HIV.

Both Mr. Davis Asare and Africans in Boston are committed to working together in the long term on educational initiatives in Boston, Worcester and their neighboring municipalities, as well exploring new avenues for partnerships.

AiB Executives meet to setup agenda and roadmap for the future of the organization

 

2017 AiB Executives
Jeff Siaw ( Executive Director) , Voury Ignegongba ( President) ,
Wilson Balinda ( Community Liaison Manager)
Fatmata Jah ( Educational Programs Manager) , Flossy Azu ( Communications Manager) ,
Della Liu ( Marketing and Investment Research Manager)

Boston, Massachusetts –  April 28th 2017
AiB Executives met in April 2017 to setup the agenda and the roadmap for the future of the organization.

Diaspora meeting at Harvard Medical School with A.U. ambassador to U.S., Honorable Arikana Chihombori-Quao


Honorable Arikana Chihombori-Quao, A.U. ambassador to the U.S. and Voury Ignegongba, AiB President

Boston, Massachusetts – Thursday April 27th 2017

The A.U. ambassador to the U.S. Honorable Arikana Chihombori-Quao met with members of the African Diaspora at Harvard Medical School today for a round table discussion to address issues facing Africans in the Diaspora. Some participants were local ( from Boston), others were from out of state ( Texas, Washington, DC) and others were from overseas ( U.K., Cape Verde). A great number of them were physicians. The discussions revolved around engaging the Diaspora here in the US to facilitate development of communities in the United States and in Africa.

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao stated that the AU is committed to working with Diaspora organizations such as Africans in Boston and UPAC and putting together a database. The A.U. is also working on implementing a radio-station that would give an opportunity to African ambassadors to present and highlight their respective countries. Finally, the A.U. is also very committed to ensuring that Diaspora members get considered first when opportunities arise on the Continent. Dr. Arikana believes that the next BIG CHANGE in Africa will take place with the Diaspora as the key player.

Africans in Boston is very encouraged by the visit of Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao and is looking forward to exploring avenues to work with the AU.

AiB visit to A.U. mission, World Bank/IMF Annual Spring Meetings and dinner with UPAC members in Washington, DC


Voury Ignegongba and Jeff Siaw

Washington, DC – Wednesday April, 19th 2017

Jeff ( Africans in Boston Executive Director) and Voury Ignegongba ( Africans in Boston President) were in the nation’s capital  on Wednesday April, 19th 2017 to attend a Diaspora gathering with the Chairperson of the AU.  Due to scheduling conflicts, the gathering was cancelled at the last minute.

Jeff and Voury spent the day in Washington DC attending seminars at the World Bank and the IMF as Africans in Boston was invited to the Annual and Springs Meeting ( i.e. Driving Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa with great panelists… ) – http://www.imf.org/external/mmedia/view.aspx…

Later in the evening, Africans in Boston had dinner with UPAC Chairwoman Sade Oshinubi and UPAC Partnership board member John Manirakiza in Georgetown.


Jeff Siaw, Voury Ignegongba, Sade Oshinubi, John Manirakiza

Jeff Siaw joins Africans in Boston as new Executive Director


Jeff Siaw, AiB Executive Director

Boston, Massachusetts – April 23rd 2017

Jeff Siaw joins Africans in Boston as new Executive Director.

Jeff was born and raised in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, and did not move to the United States until his senior year of American high school. As the oldest of three, he has always been in the position of a role model within his family for both his parents and his younger brothers paving the way for how to pursue the “American Dream” leading by example. Working his way up the sales ladder at AT&T was a difficult balance with a full time 15 credit course load at Worcester State University, but the inspiration to continue to learn in the classroom paired with his determination to work through uncertainty kept him motivated and ready to tackle the two jobs. After becoming the first college graduate in his family, he simultaneously worked to become the number one manager for all of AT&T (Spring Mobile authorized retailer) ,also the youngest out of 1600 managers across the country. By most, this job and milestone is it for achieving the American dream. “For me, this is not enough; my path is just beginning and I want to continue to develop my leadership and entrepreneurial skills to be able to affect change in the U.S. and Africa” said Jeff Siaw.

Jeff will lead efforts in getting the next generation involved with the work currently underway at Africans in Boston and will be involved with strategic programs in education.