By Johanne Adam
February is Black History Month, a time of the year when we honour the legacy and achievements of Black Canadians, past and present, with a series of educational and cultural activities.
On January 29, the Club des étudiants haïtiens de l’Université d’Ottawa (CEHUO) presented the play Chantal au royaume des contes et légendes : Haïti in the Alumni Auditorium. Haitian stories and tales entitled Tezen and Ti-Soufri, adapted for the stage by University of Ottawa alumna Christina George, were performed by seven actors and a narrator, all members of CEHUO.
Missed it? Here are some of the events taking place on campus and in the Ottawa-Gatineau region this month.
University of Ottawa
- At the African fashion show, presented in conjunction with the Safara Afro Club, you’ll have a chance to see some fabulous clothing made from African fabrics, including some created out of African wax print cloth. This is the first collaboration between the University of Ottawa and the Safara Afro Club, a business created by designer and uOttawa communication and sociology alumni Gwen Madiba. The evening will be emceed by model, DJ, producer and actor Willy Monfret and takes place on Thursday, February 16, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Huguette Labelle Hall (room 112) of Tabaret Hall.
- Come hear children’s stories by a number of Black authors read by members of the Black community. Sunday, February 12, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Nepean Centrepointe branch of the Ottawa Public Library, 101 Centrepointe Drive. Free admission.
- Members of the Ottawa School of Music piano program present concert pianist John Dapaah and multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Angelique Francis. Sunday, February 12, 7:30 p.m., at 1412 Bank Street. Tickets are limited (approx. 45 available), available on Eventbrite, and cost $25.
- The Northern Griots Network — in partnership with House of PainT, the Ottawa Black Arts Kollective and the Origin Arts & Community Centre — celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary with brilliant musicians, singers, poets and visual artists. Starts at noon on Wednesday, February 15 at Southminster United Church (15 Aylmer Avenue). Admission is free (voluntary donations welcome).
- Odyssey Showcase presents The Gift of Jazz, a musical celebration of jazz from its African and gospel roots to modern day expressions. Saturday, February 18, at 8 pm., Algonquin Commons Theatre, 1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Building E.
- Film screening of Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, directed by Roy Anderson, (Jamaica/USA), English, 52 minutes (2015). The film tells the story of Nanny, a queen captured in her homeland and forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of a slave ship. In the New World, she rose up to become the leader of a new nation — of free Africans. Thursday, February 23, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive. Tickets are 10$, available at the door or online on Eventbrite.
- Kallaloo Afro-Caribbean Dance Festival, a one-day celebration of Afro-Caribbean dance and culture, featuring three workshops and the Afrocentric Marketplace. Saturday, February 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington Street.
- Black Women Who Tea ... Rebuilding Sisterhood. The aim of this event is to revive the tradition of tea rooms that existed at turn of the 20th century. At the height of their popularity, there were approximately 25 Black-owned tearooms in the United States. However, there is no recorded history of tearooms owned and run by Black women in Canada. Saturday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m., 3204 Woodroffe Avenue in Nepean. Tickets are 10$. For tickets or other information, contact Sylmadel Coke at 613-262-7152 or email@example.com; or Irene Mlambo at 613-712-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A screening of the documentary Qui prend hiver prend pays, about the role winter played in the integration of immigrants in Canada, will be followed by a discussion with producer David Thibodeau. Members of the public can also talk with some of the actors. Presented by Connexion Jeunesse Canada Afrique in collaboration with ICI Radio-Canada Ottawa–Gatineau and the Conseil de la communauté noire de Gatineau. Wednesday, February 8, at 7 p.m., Café le Troquet at 41 rue Laval (Hull sector). Free admission.
- Artist Élage Mbaye, originally from Senegal, and the dance troupe Daaradji invite you to experience Voix de l’Afrique. You’ll be transported by the traditional Senegalese rhythms carried by the winds of the Atlantic to the shores of the Ottawa River. Presented by the City of Gatineau’s cultural office. Saturday, February 11, at La Basoche,120 rue Principale (Aylmer sector). Tickets are $16.50 for students and $32.50 for adults.
- With the play Rendez-vous Lakay, the talented director and actor Djennie Laguerre will carry audience members away to Haiti on a voyage involving humour, oral traditions and traditional Haitian dance. Presented by the Conseil de la communauté noire de Gatineau on Friday, February 17, at 8 p.m. in the Fêtes hall of the Maison du citoyen, 25 rue Laurier (Hull) sector. Tickets are $25.
- The group Igitego created Dutarame, a Rwandan cultural evening that will warm your heart! The evening will include Rwandan folk songs and dances and kiosks with delicious African food for sale. Saturday, February 25, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Maison du citoyen’s Fêtes hall, 25 rue Laurier (Hull sector).