Pulcherie Mboussi is the founder and executive director of the African Arts and Cultural Community Contributor Society (AACCCS) and ISSAMBA Centre in Victoria. (Photo courtesy Pulcherie Mboussi)

Pulcherie Mboussi is the founder and executive director of the African Arts and Cultural Community Contributor Society (AACCCS) and ISSAMBA Centre in Victoria. (Photo courtesy Pulcherie Mboussi)

Black leaders, artists bring Black History Month celebrations to Greater Victoria virtually

African Arts and Cultural Community Contributor Society hosts discussions, concerts online

When Pulcherie Mboussi, founder of the African Arts and Cultural Community Contributor Society (AACCCS) and ISSAMBA Centre in Victoria, began to prepare for Black History Month 2021, she knew the events and celebrations would have to look different because of COVID-19.

The AACCCS is presenting its 8th annual Black History Month celebrations with virtual panels, food and performances by artists from all over the world.

In the past, the society’s celebrations have taken place in person. Without missing a beat, Mboussi prepared to shift online with virtual events held on Zoom and Facebook Live to help Vancouver Island celebrate Black History and African heritage.

Originally from Cameroon, Mboussi immigrated to Canada about 30 years ago and began advocating for the preservation of African and Caribbean cultures. She is passionate about her heritage and possesses a wealth of knowledge of Black history – joking she has a “street PhD” in the subject.

In 2010, she moved to Victoria and began developing the AACCCS, established in 2012, to highlight the diversity of African cultures through activities and events. The ISSAMBA Centre opened on Fifth Street opened in 2020 as the first and only African cultural centre on the Island.

The AACCCS kicked off the month with a Feb. 1 panel of speakers from across Canada and continues with online events featuring authors, entrepreneurs and musicians.

“We have gone through a lot in the last year” between COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter rallies, so the goal is to “listen and learn,” Mboussi said. She added that Black Canadian identity is complex so celebrating Black history must include learning about African and Caribbean heritage.

The AACCCS also shares daily posts about Black Canadians and videos from local leaders – including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, VicPD Chief Del Manak and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes – discussing their commitments to anti-racism and the well-being of Black community members.

The society will host concerts Feb. 13, 20 and 27, a movie screening and discussion on Feb. 16 and two takeaway meal nights.

Feb. 13 is an opportunity to “explore Caribbean tastes,” Mboussi said adding that she’s hoping for some jerk chicken. On Feb. 25, the feature meal will be cooked by families from North Africa.

The goal is to “bring communities together” through shared meals – even if they’re eating at their own homes, she said. To register for a meal, visit issambacentre.ca/events.

Due to the pandemic, the annual closing celebration was replaced with a virtual concert on Feb. 27 featuring artists Mamadou Diabate, Alpha Yaya Diallo and Turunesh.

All events are free and open to everybody to encourage cross-cultural learning. Learn more about ongoing events at issambacentre.ca/events or find them on Facebook.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Greater Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

Darcy Rhodes (left) says his grandfather’s bonsai trees are his ‘babies.’ (Courtesy of Tamara Bond)
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

Most Read