The African Canadian Heritage Association, fondly known as ACHA, celebrated its milestone 50th year anniversary of teaching African and Caribbean history to children in our community on Saturday the 18 and Sunday May 19, 2019, to a packed house at the beautiful Centennial College Event Centre in Scarborough.
Saturday featured A Nia Circle and Family Day to establish new connections and further the conversations that they were have having with the community ACHA also to discuss the path forward for ACHA. The group also announced that it has expanded into the West end to the Delta Family Services which is called The Kujistahi Program.
The evening featured remarks by Jean Augustine, who alluded to the wealth of our Black organizations that were started in the late 60’s early 70’s. And acknowledge that ACHA is one of the few that are still thriving 50 years later quite a challenge for a self-funded organization.
The evening’s entertainment was infused with talent that was provided by ACHA alumni including the keynote speaker, Dr. Chike Jeffers an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Dalhousie University delivered an incredible message about the importance of the program as it shaped his and his family’s life.
A framed congratulatory message was hand delivered by staff from MP Gary Anandasangaree’s office from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; other highlights of the afternoon’s event were the collective of Master drummers and dancers called the Imani Drumming and Dance ensemble, led by Master drummer Quammie Williams. Together the ensemble performed a stimulating presentation encompassing many forms of African dance as a tribute to ACHA and its half century existence.
Other performers included the ACHA alumni songsters Thando Hyman and, her daughter, Azana who gave a stunning rendition of Love and Happiness; Riya Baya-Khenti, a budding rap artist and musician; and Sojourner San Vincente, who played a sweet steel pan solo to the delight of the audience, the Hummingbird Dance Troupe from Oshawa and Nadine Williams (renowned dub poet) shared a poem to recognize ACHA’s 50 years, amongst many other acts. The emcee, Itah Sadu, was as usual on the top of her game keeping the acts moving and the audience engaged.
Music for the event was provided by the ACHA’s resident DJ and youth facilitator Kevin Hood of Heart Music. The Sunday’s event was a collaboration of ACHA members and Alumni, as well as the many organizations and community members that ACHA has fostered over the last fifty years and intends to support for the next fifty years.
The hope is that the ACHA community will help keep the organization vibrant and so they can deliver the needed programs alive and well. ACHA programming resumes in September 2019 following the summer break. Registration date will be posted on the website at www.achaonline.org Please visit the website and email them if you have any questions as well you can register or make donations to the program online.