Last Saturday May 28 was a great day for Abu Kamara, alias Mystic. Abu is the Vancouver-based chairman of the Sierra Leonean Progressive Youth Association.
His SLPYA won the African Cultural Association of the Year award at the African-Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association (ACSCA) awards night in Burnaby, British Columbia.
The Sierra Leonean Progressive Youth Association has collected a large number of computers that they will soon ship to selected schools in Sierra Leone. Abu also revealed in a recent interview that the association has plans to establish what he called digital libraries (libraries from which books and other educational materials can be downloaded via the Internet) in schools in the Western Area and the provinces.
On receiving the award, Abu said it serves as a strong motivation for himself and his colleagues considering the prestige of the organization that has bestowed the honour.
ACSCA is about 17 years old and brings together nationals from about 20 African countries which makes it one of the leading African organizations in Canada.
The event was graced by a representative from the office of the mayor of Burnaby and by the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Burnaby-Edmonds, Raj Chouhan.
The keynote address was delivered by Burnaby-New Westminster federal Member of Parliament Peter Julian affectionately nicknamed by some Africans as Peter "Ouagadougou" Julian because of his close ties to the African community. Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso, a West African country.
In his address, Julian noted that African-Canadians are playing an increasing role in all spheres of Canadian life including politics, at both the provincial and federal levels.
Other people that received awards Saturday were Margaret Obaze, Michelle (Berle) Rodgers, Nasser Zico Najm and Christine Erikson. They were specially recognized for their volunteer services to the association.
Michael Okoth, proprietor of the ABANTU company received the African Business Entrepreneur of the Year award while Dominic Usseni (proprietor of Team Mozambique, the 2010 Tournament champions) received the Coach of the Year award. The Lifetime Achievemnet award was received by Adebo Mahmoud, an ACSCA co-founder.
The African All-Star Elite Team of the Year, a selection of the top players to represent the African community in soccer matches were also honoured. They are: Bernard (BJ) Rockson (from Ghana), Kule Kambere (Uganda), Ibisomi (Eazy Taiwo) from Nigeria, Shukri Manzoul (Sudan), Donald Kambere (Uganda), Geoffrey Bindi (Sudan),Bruno Olimene (Uganda), Freddy Malek (Sierra Leone), Ray Odhiambo (Mozambique), Tchumi Narcisse (Sierra Leone) and Habil Otieno (Mozambique).
The Tournament Guest Player (non-African) award went to Nasser Zico Najm who played for Nigeria while the African Player of the Year award (Under 13) was received by Simon Odong of Sudan.
The African Soccer Player of the Year (female) award was conferred on Dehara September of South Africa and the male African Player of the Year award went to Bernard (BJ) Rockson.
Photo: Abu Kamara aka Mystic (right) with Patriotic Vanguard publisher Gibril Gbanabome Koroma, a member of the board of directors of ACSCA.