Africa is often used as a backdrop for relief/aid advertising campaigns, racist presidential attacks, and charismatic megafauna, often to the detriment of its citizens and diaspora. But with the support of UBC’s Africa Awareness Initiative (AAI), Jacky Yenga — who is also known as Jacky Essombe — aims to change these views through her new organization, the African Friendship Society.
The Society’s first large-scale event, Africa With the Masters, will take place during the BC Culture Days from September 29-30, with an offering of traditional childhood games from a variety of African countries as a centre point. Representatives from the AAI will be in attendance to help teach the games, which are something both Yenga and Kwajo Frimpong, the AAI’s co-VP External, focused on.
“This event is geared towards families, so if you have young kids it’d be nice to get them involved in the community and let them know that there are a lot of African organizations [in Vancouver],” said Frimpong, with Yenga adding that she is “thinking of tomorrow” and doing her best to create the best version of it via this intergenerational learning.
The AAI’s involvement with the Society is as a community partner, providing support and expertise. While Frimpong said the relationship between the AAI and the Society is still at an “embryonic level, just an exchange of information right now,” he also hopes this sharing of ideas and enthusiasm will lead to a long-lasting partnership with the Society and more collaborations of this nature.
Yenga’s aspirations are similar. “I really want the African Friendship Society to be a platform where we can empower, educate and entertain,” she said. “We do not deny that there are certain areas where [Africa is] struggling, but we cannot take a small experience of Africa and make it the reality of the entire continent.”