Community

Nigerian hip hop comes to Keshen Goodman library

Toria Aidoo shows how to move at event for African Heritage Month

Toria Aidoo (left) helps one of the participants on Saturday.   Nermeen Ramadan

Toria Aidoo and her students, aged three to 14, along with other participants, danced to African music on Saturday for the first time at the Keshen Goodman Library in Halifax.  

The event, African Music and Movement, was held to raise awareness and teach others about African culture through dance. It was put on by Aidoo’s students who are enrolled in the United African Canadian Women’s Association cultural supplementary program, and featured African cultural music and Nigerian hip hop.

Kids from different cultural backgrounds gather around to hear Aidoo sing.   Nermeen Ramadan

The crowd consisted of parents and children, the latter whom took to the dance floor giggling and dancing along with Aidoo and her students.

A music instructor with the UACWA, Aidoo started the show by introducing herself. She is originally from Ghana and came to Nova Scotia in 1984. She describes the UACWA as a “group of women immigrants who came to Canada, who came together to help each other and others who needed help adjusting to life in Canada.”

The event at the library was put on for African Heritage Month.

“African heritage is important because a long time ago people were taken against their will and separated; they were sold as slaves, so they could not preserve the language because there was no one to speak it with,” Aidoo said. 

“(It’s) the spirit that never dies. It bends, but it doesn’t break; this is why it is important to celebrate African heritage and empower young people who seem lost because not too much is taught in school, and the parents may not know about the culture.”

Dolores Levangie attended Saturday’s event with her daughter, Aurelia Oleforo.  

“I wanted to come because her father is Nigerian, so I liked to bring my daughter to these events,” Levangie said. “It’s a great experience for anyone who’s looking to learn about African culture; it’s very vibrant, very warm.”

Aidoo said the dance at the library was a one-time event.

Every Saturday she and other UACWA instructors meet at Mount Saint Vincent University to teach kids about leadership and the importance of being both strong but humble at the same time.  

“We don’t just teach the kids dance, that’s just one part of the organization,” said Aidoo. “We teach them values; we teach them to be resilient.”