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Toronto: Taste of Africa’s good taste and fun

15 July 2018 at 21:31 | 1867 views

PV staff

It’s a beautiful Saturday July 14 at Caledonia Park in Toronto, Canada. Not too hot, not too cold. Just the perfect day for the Taste of Africa and Mask festival organized for the first time in Toronto by Tegloma, a Sierra Leonean charity and community service organization with branches in many parts of the world.

Paul Duwai Sowa is the Toronto president of Tegloma and Chairman of the Canada branch of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party in Sierra Leone.

But Taste of Africa is not about politics but African culture and it is also not limited to Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans but about the whole African continent.

So Paul is this Saturday only wearing the Tegloma cap. He believes it will be a good idea to bring together members of the African community in a huge metropolis like Toronto and its environs to showcase their culture in the form of music, dance and food. Indeed it is a good idea due to the number of people that showed up Saturday to taste different dishes from countries like Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Cameroon and Kenya.

Paul Sowa, left, and Gibril Koroma

Or to listen to and watch performers from Ghana and Ethiopia or dance around Bondo and Gorboi “devils” from Sierra Leone.

Left to right: Alpha Shaw, Paul and another Toronto resident

Or to gyrate to the pulsating African music from the energetic DJ Maheto from Liberia whose choice of music was both old and new, both fast and slow, both African and Western.

Paul and some members of his festival team

Vibrating music wrenching through the quiet Saturday afternoon while both male and female, but mostly female African bodies, vigorously waved their hands in the air, writhed and shook and stamped on the yielding and submissive ground.

Others, sitting at the margins, could be seen quietly waving their heads to the music, tapping with their fingers on the metallic chairs and again gently bringing down their feet again and again on the hospitable ground. Some were silently eating, while others were quietly chatting while the kids ran among the crowd with cries of joy.

Group photo of festival organisers

The food was cheap too: Just $15 a plate for adults and $5 for kids.

Paul was optimistic that Taste of Africa is going to develop into something bigger next year.

Gibril G. Koroma, Patriotic Vanguard online newspaper publisher, at the festival

He and his team plan have a massive “block party” with many more performers representing many more African countries. African chefs will come with their delicious cuisines and there will be a lot more attractions.

Paul seems sure of himself. He knows with the assistance of crack Toronto community leaders like Alpha Shaw, Isatu Dumbuya, Aminata Banya and Marie Massaquoi, nothing is impossible.

That’s why they call him Chief.

The Gorboi devil was there too

Photo with the Gorboi

Photo with the Bondo devil

Tegloma- Canada president Paul Sowa speaking at the event

Paul with an Ethiopian performer

And here is a video clip of the Gorboi dancing to traditional Sierra Leonean music:

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