The annual barbecue event of the Africa Study Group was held on July 8, 2023, marking the end of a long hiatus due to Covid-19. The members were thrilled to reunite and celebrate, cherishing each other’s company more than ever. This is especially important for Africans and those interested in Africa. The gathering served as a heartwarming homecoming for all the members of the group.
The Africa Study Group was founded by Robert Fowler in 2007. It’s a voluntary organization that brings together people who share a passion for Africa. The group aims to promote closer collaboration between Canada and Africa in various areas of mutual interest. Initially, the group was made up of expats who had previously served as diplomats or scholars in Africa.
The Africa Study Group is known for its diverse membership, active engagement in Africa’s development, and genuine love for the continent. Over time, more young African scholars, students, policy analysts, and diplomats have joined the think tank group, leading to its evolution and the expansion of its networks.
However, as it is often stated, a monotonous work environment can lead to boredom; ASG members convene annually for a more leisurely gathering of fraternization. This brought them together this year to continue creating more communions and reinforcing their love for the motherland.
Chinua Achebe once said:
“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground, it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”
In the same way, members of the Africa Study Group gather each year for a barbecue event because it is part of the group’s ways of revitalizing their networks, sharing friendships, and appreciating the past for a better Africa of tomorrow.
Moreover, the annual barbecue gathering is a chance to take a break from the organization’s intense policy, academic and diplomatic programs and enjoy something more relaxed. It is also an initiative that facilitates the members’ appreciation of their respective contributions while reaffirming their support for Canadian governments, their allies, and other policymakers, enabling them to perceive emerging Africa’s immense greatness and potential.
The annual barbecue gathering is a chance to take a break from the organization’s intense policy and diplomatic programs and enjoy something more relaxed. It also helps members appreciate each other’s contributions.
Despite concerns that post-Covid-19 gatherings would be less exciting, this year’s annual ASG barbecue proved that love for Africa prevails over disease and separation. Certainly, the organization thrived online during the pandemic, but this year’s barbecue gathering proved that the African joy has been fully restored in the heart of the Canadian Capital city. The event resembled a moonlit village gathering, with younger scholars eagerly soaking up knowledge from their elders. In brief, the ASG barbecue gathering contradicts, in all essence, any idea that Ottawa could be “the city that fun forgot.”