Black History Month celebration in Gillett Square, Dalston, focuses on French speakers

PUBLISHED: 12:38 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:58 10 October 2016

Members of Hackney French Youth Theatre who performed at the Black History Month event

Members of Hackney French Youth Theatre who performed at the Black History Month event


Two inspirational community leaders were honoured at a cultural event celebrating Black History month from a Francophone perspective.

Dancers from Ziloka perform in Gillett SquareDancers from Ziloka perform in Gillett Square

Pastor Joselito Lukeba and Moussa Sow picked up their awards on Saturday at the event in Gillett Square, Dalston, organised by Mind Your Language, which runs French learning projects in the borough.

The Ambassadors of Gabon, Senegal and Equatorial Guinea and Speaker of Hackney Rosemary Sales came along to see traditional Gwoka Dance from Guadaloupe, flute playing from Burkina Faso with Moustique Pique, performances from Hackney French Youth Theatre and Ivorian art by Moussa Sanogo.

Pastor Lukeba, 53, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was nominated for his tireless support for the 70-strong congregation at the French Connection church in Darnley Road off Mare Street, where he has volunteered as a pastor for the past six years.

And Moussa Sow from Senegal, who helps organise African Week Dalston, was chosen for his work encouraging community cohesion through arts and culture.

Drummers from Ziloka play in Gillett SquareDrummers from Ziloka play in Gillett Square

Founder of Mind Your Language Kemi Dowokpor who organised the event with Hackney Council, said: “Black History Month has moved on from not just looking at slavery but looking to inspire – especially the youth – and celebrating the positive things about history and black culture.

“Knowing Africa has 26 countries that are French-speaking out of 54, there is a huge population in Africa that is French-speaking.

“French is the fourth most common language spoken at home in Hackney behind Turkish, Polish and Spanish, and if you look at the demographic you are talking about the African community.

“It is through these initiatives that we can bring people together, foster acceptance, love and break down barriers.”

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