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African Connections series provides cultural education during Black History Month

Several events planned in Nanaimo including storytelling, workshops and discussion panels
Tania Amaral will lead a storytelling session, including African folk tales, at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library on Saturday, Feb. 4, as part of African Connections’ celebrations for Black History Month. (Submitted photo)

For Black History Month in Nanaimo this year, the curator of several community events said she’s excited to have conversations about cultural appreciation and bring education to the forefront.

Crimson Coast Dance Society presents its fourth annual African Connections series, as curated by dancer Tania Amaral, that will see a workshop, dance classes, storytelling and lectures in February.

“I wish we could do it all through the year,” Amaral said. “It’s important to have these events pretty much everywhere you can find Black communities – where you find Africans or African descendants.”

She said she would like to see more societies, organizations, schools and communities engage more, not just in February, so that African society and culture is more commonplace.

A discussion panel held by herself, Edson Monteiro and Nataniel Pedro José, called Sharing is Caring: African People Sharing their Culture and Experiences, plans to do just that.

“Let’s start the conversation,” she said. “Even if it’s not a door, let’s open a window… There is such a huge cultural ignorance in some communities… Come, just talk to us. It’s good to just see us and engage with us.”

For children, Amaral will lead an in-person storytelling session to share African folk tales and stories about kings and queens that exist.

“You don’t see normally these types of books in the schools and libraries and kids don’t have that type of contact,” she said.

The conversation will continue during a lecture, led by Monteiro, who will discuss the influence of slavery on African music and dance. On the same day, Monteiro will also host two separate workshops on Kizomba and Semba dance.

Karingana Wa Karingana: Reading African Tales will take place at the Harbourfront Library on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 11 a.m.; Sharing is Caring: African People Sharing their Culture and Experiences discussion panel will take place at the Vault Café on Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.; two Dance Kizomba, Semba, Life workshops will be held on Feb. 11 at the German Hall at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Let’s Talk About It also takes place at the German Hall on Feb. 11 at noon; and an African Dance Social wraps up the month’s events on Feb. 11 at 9 p.m., also at the German Hall.

Further information can be found online at

READ MORE: Nanaimo dance society sharing children’s stories from Africa during Black History Month

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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