Jersey embraces African culture with series of events

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AFRICAN Awareness Week has been heralded as an opportunity to ‘embrace African culture’ and increase awareness of the ‘important work’ carried out by migrant workers.

The Friends of Africa CI, a local charity that supports those moving to the Island to settle and fit into the community, are putting on a series of events this week with help from the government to share their culture and promote tolerance and cultural diversity.

These include African and Caribbean lunches at the Town Hall yesterday and tomorrow from noon to 2pm, when attendees will be able to listen to music from Zimbabwean singer-songwriter Vusa Mkhaya.

The seventh annual Africa Day Dinner is to take place at the Pomme d’Or Hotel at 7pm on Saturday 27 May.

There will also be free vocalisation workshops at Grouville School today and JCG Prep on Friday, which will celebrate culture for young people with traditional rhythms and songs from southern Africa.

Lee Madden, the managing director of GR8 Recruitment, has helped bring workers from Kenya to plug the Island’s recruitment gaps. He said that the week was an ‘opportunity to embrace African culture, which brings so much to the Island’.

He added: ‘The people we help to employ from eastern Africa come here with a bright, happy disposition and the desire to work hard and give the Island the support it needs, even in the local community and charities.’

Mr Madden said: ‘To embrace Africa Awareness Week here raises awareness of the important work they do in healthcare, hospitality, tourism, construction and more.’

Deputy Beatriz Porée will also be attending some events this week. The member of Reform Jersey, who made history when elected as the first black States Member, was originally born in Angola before she fled to Portugal at nine years old. She came to Jersey on a hospitality work permit in 1989, and the Island became her home.

‘I stayed because I created good friendships, I felt welcome, and Jersey gave me that economic reward that I was looking for,’ she said.

‘I feel very much connected with Jersey culture now. Connecting is about giving and taking, and when I came to Jersey, there was an influx of workers to supply the tourist industry, so I made very strong friendships with Irish, Scottish and English as well as Jersey and Portuguese people. I found my own melting pot of cultures and the sense of belonging came with it.’

According to the 2021 census report, 764 people recorded their ethnicity as ‘African’, which has tripled since 2011, when there were 256.

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