Several AfREC members were recognised at the 2019 WA African Community Awards (WAACA) Gala Night held at the Pan-Pacific Hotel on 7 September 2019. The Awards, convened by the Organisation of African Communities in WA (OACWA), are in their second year and the flagship gala serves as the ‘grand finale’ to the annual national Australia Africa Week in Perth.
According to the OACWA, “The WA African Awards Gala aims to bring together African Australians and non-Africans every year of the African Australia Week in conjunction with African Down Under to Recognise, Celebrate, and Honour Africans who have impacted positively in the African Community in Western Australia. Our focus is to motivate all African leaders, professionals, entertainers, volunteers and including the future leaders through recognizing the persons and organisations that have contributed remarkably to the development of the Africa Community in WA.”
Following a substantial volume of high quality nominations across the seven award categories, AfREC Advisory Board Member Prof. Samuel M. Makinda won the top award, WA African of the Year 2019 (Community Pillar), while AfREC Member Fadzi Whande won the Social Impact Award. AfREC Postgraduate Coordinator Tinashe Jakwa was a finalist in the Outstanding Youth Award. It is fantastic to see their excellent work publicly recognised in this way! Congratulations.
UWA was also again the co-sponsor of the Women in Leadership Award, won in 2018 by Ms Bouah Kardio, who went on to become the first woman Chairperson of the Association of Liberian Community in WA, and now in 2019 by lawyer, convenor of the African Leadership Initiative and leader of the Cameroonian community in WA, Ms Rose-Violet Arrey. Congratulations Violet and we look forward to working with and supporting you over the next twelve months as the Award holder!
UWA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dawn Freshwater was represented at the Awards by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Partnerships) Mr Tayyeb Shah, who delivered remarks and then presented the Women in Leadership Award. AfREC was also represented at the awards night by Director Dr David Mickler, Community Coordinator Dr Dominic Dagbanja, AfricaNarratives Editor Mr Muhammad Dan Suleiman, UWA African Students Union President Mr Adeniyi Adegboye, and members Mr Seth Appiah-Mensah, Ms Liliosa Chambwera and Ms Aminata Banya. AfREC interstate guests included Mr Haileluel Gebre-selassie, Chairperson, African Think Tank (Melbourne), and Mr Edward Solo, Vice-President, Federation of African Communities Council of Australia (Darwin).
Dignitaries attending included WA Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Hon. Paul Papalia CSC MLA, WA Deputy Leader of the Opposition Hon. Bill Marmion MLA, Members of Parliament, High Commissioners and Ambassadors from Australia and African countries, mayors, representatives of the WA Police, business, public sector and academic leaders, and African community leaders and elders.
AfREC would like to congratulate all nominees, finalists and award winners for your excellent work, and also congratulate our principal African community partners OACWA for another fantastic gala awards night!