I am pleased to present a report on the Afro-Diaspora Ball held in Vienna, Austria, on 9th April 2022.
2. The Ball was attended by H.E Robinson Githae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Philbert Abaka Johnson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ghana, Diplomats from South Africa, Distinguished guests like Professor Bodomo of the University of Vienna, Members of the African Diaspora Communities and Austrians who have interest in Africa and the African Culture.
Opening of the Event
3. The Ball was opened by the organizer Mr Jack Mugoya, Chair of Africa Gala Vienna and a member of the Kenyan Diaspora Community, who recognized the attendance of the distinguished guests and thanked everyone for participating in the ball and dressing up so glamorously in all forms of African designs.
4. Mr Mugoya explained that the goal of the ball is not only to celebrate the African culture but also to be a platform for supporting small African businesses in the Diaspora. He said that almost all preparations and materials at the ball are products of the local African Diaspora. He expressed the importance of having a robust and unified diaspora community as the African community is a crucial stakeholder in the future development of Africa. Mr. Mugoya urged the participants to promote Africa in business, culture and tourism. He encouraged those in attendance to form networks and support other black-owned businesses.
Speeches by Ambassadors
5. The Ambassador of Kenya, H.E Robinson Githae, Congratulated the organizing committee for setting up the Afro-Diaspora Ball. He said the organizing committee would no longer struggle to find sponsors for the next events because the format of the Ball for Africans had enormous potential. The Ambassador said that the greatest joy of an ambassador is when they see that their people prosper and are successful in whatever enterprise they engage in. He was so proud to be part of an event organized by the African diaspora community members.
6. Ambassador Githae articulated that the Diaspora needs to help and assist each other so that they can all succeed and settle in their Host Countries. He also encouraged the Diaspora to join communities and groups to participate in activities of their interests, whether religious, sport or art. Finally, H.E Ambassador Githae urged the participants to follow the Host Country's laws so that everyone could succeed and be happy. He promised that in the next Kenyan National celebration in June, he would invite the African Diaspora to join their Kenyan counterparts in the commemoration of Madaraka Day (Self-Governance Day).
7. The Ambassador of Ghana, H.E Ambassador Philbert I.K.A Johnson, started by pointing out who we are as Africans. A great people with great potential and opportunities. He depicted Africans as not a poor people. He expounded that the world has always been dependent on Africa's resources and emphasized that Africa's resources have made the world what it is today.
8. Ambassador Johnson submitted that the story of Africa, as it is being narrated, is a sad story. He went on that the story being told has not projected the continent in a very good light. He urged the Africans in attendance to change that narrative. He reinforced that it takes Africans to make a difference and that well organized, prestigious events like the Afro-Diaspora Ball present the African continent in the way it should be exhibited.
9. Ambassador Johnson challenged those in attendance to identify what they could do to induce change, put all efforts into it, and help at least one individual back at home change the narrative. He appealed to the audience to change the face of Africa, not to look like a sad continent, but as a continent with resilient young people who can stand firm to make their continent the great continent that it is.
10. A prolonged applauding welcomed the speeches of both Ambassadors. There was an emphatic "yes" from the audience acknowledging the need to unite as the African Diaspora community.
11. Mr. Mugoya opened the Buffet prepared by Mount Kenya- Zilpah's African Store from the City of Graz, an African-owned business. The participants enjoyed a mix of East African and West African delicacies.
12. The Ball dinner was followed by Live music performed by Mamozi and the Band. Mamozi is an upcoming talented musician from Zimbabwe based in the Czech republic. He does most of his shows in Austria. Mamozi managed to pull together artists from Burkina Faso, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Austria to form a beautiful mixed band just for the event. They thrilled the audience with their high energy performance.
13. The dance floor was opened with music played by D.J.s from South Africa and Nigeria. The audience afterwards left at their pleasure.
14. This was the second event of its kind to be held in Vienna. The first one was initiated by the African group and supported by all its members. The event took place on 9th September 2017, and the African Embassies invited the African Diaspora and hosted them. After that event, it was resolved that a non-profit association would be formed to make it easier to organize future events. That is how the Africa Gala Vienna Association was formed. Unfortunately, the Kenyan Deputy Ambassador, who, under his patronage, the association ran, left Austria after his tenure ended. Since then, it has been a challenge to put the great idea back into action again.
15. We are happy, though, that through the relentless effort of the organizing team of Africa Gala Vienna, we have managed to have once again an event that brings together the African Embassies, the Diaspora and persons interested in Africa, whether in business or culture or tourism.
16. We resolve to do this event in this format twice a year in Spring and Fall. The next Gala event will be in October. We request Your Excellency as the Chair of the Africa Group to again take us under your authority and influence and help us work together with our Embassies to build a solid African Diaspora. We also request all key stakeholders, African owned businesses, the African Diaspora in Austria and all individuals who love Africa and want to do business in Africa to join us in our next event. We appreciate your support, and we look forward to working with you, the African Group and all other stakeholders to achieve our mission of inspiring the African Diaspora to be agents of change for Africa's development and promote the African Culture and help the Diaspora realize its full potential in wealth, expertise and networks.