“We are one” : Celebrating African Heritage Month at Saint Mary’s

Elphas Gweru, African Ambassador and head of the African Students’ Association at Saint Mary’s.

Elphas Gweru, African Ambassador and head of the African Students’ Association at Saint Mary’s.

February marks the 35th anniversary of African Heritage Month in Halifax. With such a diverse student body at Saint Mary’s, this is very exciting month on campus.

We had a chance to sit down and speak with the head of the African Students Association and African Amabassador Elphas Gweru, to talk a bit about the significance of this month and what it means at Saint Mary’s.

Several events are planned on campus including films, presentations, a panel discussion and a free lunch social open to all students.

“We want to attract students of all ethnicities and backgrounds to these events,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to connect students from all over campus … you don’t have to be African to be part of this team.”

Elphas is particularly proud that the African Students Association is hosting these events in collaboration with other societies and says this is typical of how the various societies work together throughout the year. He singled out the Caribbean Students Association and the Indigenous Students Association as special partners.

Elphas also hopes that this month will strengthen bonds between different groups on campus, creating one large body that embodies his philosophy, “Tirivanhu vamwe” which translates to “we are one, we are family.”

The spirit of collaboration also extends to other universities. Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s have put together a panel to discuss Racial Apartheid & Black Freedom Struggles in Nova Scotia & South Africa. This will take place on February the 12th from 6:30 to 8:00pm in the Patrick Power Library. The Patrick Power Library will also feature an exhibit of Nova Scotia and South African materials from the Lynn Jones African-Canadian Heritage and Diaspora Heritage Collection.

To learn more, see the full schedule of African Heritage Month on campus, or visit smu.ca/eventcalendar. 

Submitted by Claire MacGillivray.