SOFIFRAN open house offers a taste of Africa

From left: Neguss Demoz-Goshu, Hervé Mility, Derek Thorne and Amadou Kienou. Along with Justine Gogoua, they entertained the audience with folk music.

C’est magnifique!

That was the description given to the food at the Solidarite des femmes et familles immigrantes francophones (SOFIFRAN) open house held last weekend at Immaculee Conception on 99 Garnet St. in St. Catharines.

SOFIFRAN was created in 2006 to create a platform for seven French-speaking immigrant women working on social, cultural, economic and educational activities specific to their community.

SOFIFRAN’s goal is “a French-speaking platform that targets the promotion and participation of immigrants in the economic and social sectors, while promoting their artistic and cultural development for better integration in Canada.”

The event gave people a chance to enjoy some African food and folk music while speaking French.

Rebecca Surin welcomed people to the event. She explained how the Folk Arts Festival had been going on for 54 years and it was their goal to promote social and cultural groups to bring a space for immigrants or newcomers to the region.

Surin said the plan was to have a fun night because they were not able to get together due to the pandemic.

Bob Oleksiw, chair president for the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, said it was wonderful to see everyone after two years.

Oleksiw said it was important to have a physical festival that lets the different ethnic communities highlight their wonderful music, wonderful food and wonderful culture.

“That is what makes Niagara Region such a wonderful place,” he said, “We all integrate together.”

The musicians Neguss Demoz-goshu, Derek Thorne, Amadou Kienou, Justine Gogoua, Dermot Wilson and Hervé Mility made the journey from North Bay to perform.

They played folk music using a variety of instruments.

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