Saturday 21 October
Among all the Black community leaders in the national capital, Toni Francis, President of the St. Lucia Ottawa Community Association, stands out, for her dedication to the cause of uplifting and promoting her community. Last Saturday was a great example of Toni’s leadership qualities, as she successfully led the 2017 Jounen Kwéyòl, an annual event that celebrates the French/African dialect widely spoken in the West Indian island of Saint Lucia. According to Toni, although most of the original Kwéyòl language has been lost, there is more awareness and pride in the language today than years ago, when speaking Kwéyòl was frowned upon. The Kwéyòl language is now taught in Saint Lucian schools and is standardized with a writing system, alphabet and dictionary.
Among the highlights of Ottawa’s celebration held at the Jim Durell Centre were: music by the St. Lucia folk group; dance performance by Les DanceSoeurs duo; a totally amazing seniors-only dance routine led by famed Suzan Lavertu of the Cultural Arts Studio; fashion show by designer Helen Glasgow; La Rose & La Marguarita pageant competition; comedy by Joel Sylvestre; Creole poetry reading by Esther Charles; a musical serenade by crooner Pete Douglas; a surprise United Way Community Builder award to Alex Eloise; a dramatic skit by Kisia St. Clair, as well as traditional St. Lucian games. But the evening truly belonged to Co-MC’s Tarrah Mauricette and Marshall Celestin, who kept the evening rolling smoothly, despite the usual problems associated with running a major event.
Kudos to Executive of the St Lucia Ottawa Association for a totally entertaining evening.