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African Heritage Month launching in Amherst Jan. 30

Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association (CANSA) executive director Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu is preparing for the local launch of African Heritage Month, which will take place at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre on Monday, Jan. 30.
Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association (CANSA) executive director Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu is preparing for the local launch of African Heritage Month, which will take place at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre on Monday, Jan. 30.

AMHERST, N.S. – The past, present and future will all be celebrated during this year’s African Heritage Month, which will be given an official launch in Amherst on Monday, Jan. 30.

Kicking off at 11:45 a.m. at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre, the event will include the signing of a proclamation by Mayor David Kogon, and the screening of a video celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Cumberland African Nova Scotia Association (CANSA) in the community.

“In the last year we’ve been celebrating 15 years as an organization, both from the cultural and employment side,” explained CANSA executive director Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu. “We hired an individual to put together a collection of stories, music, and there are a lot of interviews on it. It’s a 26-minte video, and we will be screening it at the launch.”

Tony Ince, the provincial minister of communities, culture and heritage and African Nova Scotian affairs, will be among those on hand for the event, which will be followed by light refreshments of Jamaican and Asian cuisine.

Throughout the month of February, an African heritage exhibit by artist Darlene Strong will also be featured at the Cumberland County Museum and Archives.

African Heritage Month has been celebrated for 33 years in Nova Scotia, and CANSA has been taking part since 2008, when it joined the African Heritage Month Information Network.

“It’s raised awareness of community members to the extent that they recognize we’ve had to work harder to get where we are and have achievements,” said Cooke-Sumbu. “It’s important we celebrate those achievements and not always talk about the negative part of things that have happened in our society.”

The 2017 African Heritage Month theme is “Passing the Torch… African Nova Scotians and the next 150,” focusing on the legacy of the African Nova Scotians in the past, present, and looking into the future.

With that theme in mind, CANSA is working with local radio station CFTA to add stories from youth to the collection of African Nova Scotian stories from Cumberland County, to be aired at a later date.

An official listing of all community activities and events for African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia this year can be found at http://ansa.novascotia.ca/african-heritage-month

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