dI Community Corner

 


Hello,

My name is Zahra Badua and I am the administrative assistant here at dance Immersion – welcome to my blog. Over the next few weeks, I will be hosting a community corner where I will be discussing various topics that affect the African Diaspora.  In addition, I will be speaking with prominent people within our community to get their perspectives on various topics. In this first blog, I intend on starting a conversation about the upkeep of African and Caribbean traditions, primarily our traditional/folk songs and dances.  

Let me begin by introducing myself. I am a Ghanaian dancer/ teacher/ choreographer originally from Montreal, Quebec. My passion for dance started at a very young age as a means to learn and understand my African heritage. I moved to Toronto to pursue a career in criminal justice until I realised that dance was my true calling. 

My artistic journey has brought me to a place where I am fascinated with the art of storytelling and dance. In the African culture, song and dance are the ways our history and culture are passed down from one generation to another. Our elders are the ones that teach us, they are the ones that uphold and keep our traditions in their purest form. Their knowledge and expertise are passed down orally. 

Lately, I find myself questioning if our rich traditions will become extinct, since they are taught orally. What happens when an elder dies and we did not get the chance to gather the information before they transitioned? 

 

There is an African proverb that says: 

“When an Elder passes on, it is like losing a library”

 

How do we trace back our rich history when the elders are no longer present?

 

I am curious to know what your thoughts are. Please comment on this blog if you would like to participate in this community discussion.

If you have thoughts that you would rather not share publicly, please email me at info@danceimmersion.ca.

 

Yours truly,

Zahra Badua

4 replies
  1. Helen
    Helen says:

    I am not part of the African or Caribbean community but speak humbly as someone who fell in love with African diaspora literature as a lit student in university. The West African proverb that I once read that helped me the most as a young adult dealing with the loss of my father was “We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors”. The idea is to imagine your family as a living tree and your loved ones that have transitioned as always carrying you through life as you stand proudly on their shoulders and the fine example they have set for you. With that being said, just by existing we keep our ancestors and the culture alive and I do not think the traditions become extinct but rather transform and can be communicated differently through different channels today, storytelling through social media, for example. Even if we only tell parts of the story to the next generation and we do not get it perfect, we honour those before us in the best way we can and keep them, the culture, their stories, and their spirit alive, just by existing. Since there is so much value and wisdom in the rich African culture, I hope that we can prioritize the education of it because just having access to African wisdom and ways of being transformed my entire outlook on life in my 20s and could have the same effect on so many others if education is prioritized.

    Reply
    • Zahra
      Zahra says:

      Hello Helen,
      I want to start by thanking you for commenting on the blog. I love the proverb you used. We definitely stand on our ancestors’ shoulders. It is because of them that we are here today and are able to enjoy the liberties they have blessed us with. I also feel it is an interesting point you brought up ” just by existing we keep our ancestors and the culture alive “, indeed we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams. Since you mentioned social media, do you believe it is enough to preserve the cultures?

      Reply
  2. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    This discussion is extremely vital! Thank you Zahra and dance Immersion for opening up this conversation. I consider, how are we carrying the stories of our Ancestors forward? How do we collect, and disseminate the truth of or Elders, while honoring the beauty of their existence and lives? Many stories of our Ancestors have been lost, and there are marked memories which are etched in the minds of our Elders that are still with us. To watch our Elders speak, to know that each smile, each wrinkle, each nod holds the memory of a momentous journey is powerful. I’m excited to see the continuance of this conversation as we access an endless garden of pathways and life stories that have changed the course of our world and our lives. Thank you God. Thank you Ancestors. Thank you Elders. May we listen, learn, and may our stories live on.

    Reply
    • Zahra
      Zahra says:

      Hello Nicole,
      I want to thank you for participating in this important conversation and also applaud you for everything that you contribute to dance Immersion and the great works you do for your community. We are truly grateful for the giftings of our ancestors and hope we can carry the torch forward and make them proud. I am also looking forward to the conversation continuing so we can finds ways to keep our history and culture going.

      Thank you
      Zahra

      Reply

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