Bringing a little bit of African culture to Liverpool


  • <p>Kevin McBain PHOTO</p><p>Mufaro Chakabuda leads the group at the curling club in some African dancing during a workshop session at the Liverpool Curling Club March 7.</p>

LIVERPOOL – Mufaro Chakabuda, founder and CEO of The Maritime Centre for African Dance (MCAD) is passionate about sharing her culture with as many people as she can.

She was in Liverpool at the library and curling club March 8 and at the Liverpool Regional High School March 9. She taught those in attendance some African dance moves and shared and fielded questions about her home country, Zimbabwe, and a little history of Black people on the South Shore.

About 12 people attended a session at the Thomas Raddall Library for the first session and another 20 or so people of all ages to the curling club.

The next day, Chakabuda had some help as she shared her culture with students at the school.

Chakabuda moved to Canada at age 19 to study at Dalhousie University. In 2002 she graduated with a BA in Sociology and Social Anthropology minoring in business.

She started MCAD in 2005 with only $20, when she realized that there was very little diversity in the area so she decided to start this to "educate and teach people about our culture."

The organization now has about 85 dancers, speakers and drummers that are enthusiastic about their culture and want to share with others. As well, MCAD was the only Canadian group chosen to perform for President Obama's African Inaugural Ball in Washington in January 2009.

They now have a facility in Halifax and have expanded across the country and into Africa and the United Kingdom. They facilitate workshops, camps and more, sharing their culture through the language of dance.

Elise Johnston, is the Accessibility and Inclusion Co-ordinator for the Region of Queens Municipality.

She said this group of sessions is sponsored by her group and an extension of their programming for African Heritage Month (February).

"Dance is a cultural expression and an icebreaker for conversation," she said about this particular series of events and was pleased with the number of people that attended

Chakabuda began her session at the curling club with some stretching for everybody, then moved into teaching various dance moves before giving everyone the opportunity to practice everything they learned.

She then sat down and talked a bit about her village and answered questions about animals, food, education, transportation and diversity with in the countries. She continues to live in Zimbabwe, but flies to Canada for a few months each year to share her knowledge.

Along with being the founder of MCAD, she is also the president of Chaks Publishing House and she has published a few books.

She also founded a charity for scholarships geared towards Zimbabweans, zimscholarshps.com and its on the Halifax Cultural Opportunities Grants board and with the Africans in the Diaspora of the Maritimes executive board.

To date, she has received a number of awards including the Progress Women's Excellence Awards 2009 (Atlantic Canada), and she was nominated for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009.

She was nominated for the Portia White Prize in 2007 and 2008 and in 2010, she was ranked second in Canada among all female entrepreneurs for the RBC Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Start-Up Category.

As an author, she wrote From $20.00: An Artrepreneur's Success Story (2012).

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