http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/338744

Justus Mirembe of Uganda Heads Major BC Association Special

Posted Dec 10, 2012 by Gibril Koroma
Justus Mirembe, a native of Uganda, has recently been elected President of the African-Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association (ACSCA), the largest and most active African-Canadian association in the province of British Columbia, Canada.
Justus Mirembe  new ACSCA President
Justus Mirembe, new ACSCA President
Gibril Koroma: Thanks, Justus, for this interview. You are relatively well known in the African community here in Vancouver but I would like you to briefly introduce yourself for the benefit of our non-African readers.
Justus Mirembe: First of all, thank you Gibril for inviting me here for this interview. The role of the media is very important in our continuing efforts to promote volunteerism in our respective communities that ultimately lead to the preservation of our rich diverse cultures that make British Columbia a unique Province to live in. So thank you for playing an active role.
My name is Justus Mirembe and am originally from Uganda, East Africa. I am the newly elected President of the African Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association (ACSCA), a community non-profit soccer and cultural organization where I have volunteered for almost seven years. My educational background is in Forensic Criminology, Crime and Intelligence Analysis from both Douglas College and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). I am employed in my field of study working for the Federal Government at a Law Enforcement Agency where I have worked for almost 10 years.
GK: The African-Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association(ACSCA) recently held an election and a new team to run the affairs of the association was elected. Please tell us what happened and who the new executive members are.
JM:Yes, ACSCA held its AGM on Sunday November 25, 2012 and during the AGM, elections were conducted to elect new executives. The AGM was full house, with attendees representing 12 African Countries. Delegates from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Liberia, Cameroon, and South Sudan made sure their voices and opinions would be heard loud and clear!
The diverse representation of the African Canadian Soccer and Cultural Association (ACSCA) is what makes this organization stand out as the “Voice of Africa”. No other African non for profit community organization in BC can boast this culturally rich diversity that represents the continent of Africa in BC. It’s an honor to be a part of this growing organization.
The newly elected executives for 2012-2014 are; President - Justus Mirembe (Uganda), Vice President – Bobson Abubakhar Sesay (Sierra Leone), Secretary – Jerry Gbardy (Liberia), Treasurer – Adebo Mahmoud (Uganda) and Public Relations Officer – Mandla Sibiya (South Africa).
GK:As the newly elected president of ACSCA, please tell us what this means personally to you and for the African community you and your team are going to serve?
JM: It is always going to be a challenge to lead a large organization such as ACSCA that consists of people from all walks of life with a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. Community volunteering is something that requires an individual to put others before themselves. This can be challenging given that its free services given at your own cost. One quote that motivates me to that effect, comes from one of my heroes Mahatma Gandhi who said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Being ACSCA President, personal sacrifice forms part of the job because managing an organization with over 500 men women and youth that actively participate in the annual summer soccer and cultural festival as well as 2,000 plus friends and family members that show up to support these players is definitely a huge challenge. Ensuring their security and safety while having fun, will be my number one priority and am ready for the challenge!
All of the new elected executives have been active volunteers for the organization for many years so really, this is what we have already been doing for the community and it feels great to make a difference. Ofcorse this would not be possible without the support of our families because they sacrifice a lot to allow us to go for these regular planning meeting that sometimes can go for hours depending on the organization’s demands and issues at hand! So massive credit to our families.
GK: As an elaboration on the preceding question, please tell us your vision or where you want to see ACSCA in the next few years.
JM:ACSCA is Growing to Serve and Serving to Grow, so the next two years as President of ACSCA, I will be working to strengthen the annual programs that we have in place. These include; the 19th Annual Soccer and Cultural Festival scheduled for August 09-11, 2013, the 3rd Annual Community Service Awards Recognition Gala scheduled for May 18, 2013, participation in the Summer Richmond Nations Cup and Multicultural League Soccer Tournaments as well as the All-Star Games. Increased active participation of the Youth and Women will also be my main focus in the next two years. These very important programs are the core foundation of the organization but unfortunately they are not self-sustained and as a result, we rely heavily on funding and corporate sponsorships to run these programs.
We have been fortunate to have funding from the City of Burnaby, Western Union Canada, Umbro Canada, Heineken Canada and recently the Province of British Columbia through the Multiculturalism Grants Program has joined our generous sponsors. We are grateful for the support we get from these amazing donors and hope to retain their support for many years to come because without their support, ACSCA would simply not stand a chance to serve the community. Obviously, we are continuously looking for new sponsors to join us and take advantage of the benefits that come with being part of one of the fastest growing community in BC.
GK: Women have not been very active in ACSCA. Do you have any plans to address this?
JM:This is a very good question. I am inheriting the Presidency from my colleague from Nigeria who started a women’s soccer program last year that attracted participation from women in our community. This was an indicator that women want to be a part of this organization. Infact the women’s game at the Annual Festival are always the highlight of the event. Women and Youth participation is extremely important to the growth of the organization and am hoping to carry on the torch from my predecessor to cement active participation of this demographic.
GK:ACSCA is usually viewed as a mainly soccer organization but it also has social and cultural aspects, even economic aspects. Do you have plans to bring these other aspects to the forefront?
GK: As Africans, we use soccer to speak to each other, to unite together, to grow with each other regardless of our backgrounds. It’s amazing how different our cultures are even if we are Africans. But soccer knows no specific language or culture; soccer is a beautiful game that any African loves so dearly…and it’s through these annual programs hosted by ACSCA that we get to see Africans and friends of Africa get together in harmony regardless of our differences. The different cultural display of various African communities through dance troupes, art craft vending and food cuisines at these events is second to none!
Through the annual Soccer and Cultural Festival, ACSCA attracts people from all over the world but specifically a large number travel from our neighbouring Washington State and Alberta every year to participate in the Festival. This in turn boosts tourism for our Province as well as preserves the African Heritage in Canada and this is a beautiful thing! I really hope that with increased funding from our sponsors especially the Province of British Columbia as well as the City of Burnaby, ACSCA will be able to promote our Cities and Province and play a massive role in boosting the economy all together. I believe this is achievable!
GK: Any other thing you would like to add?
JM: I want to thank members of ACSCA who trusted in me and voted me to be their President for the next two years. I hope that we can collectively work together to promote and preserve the African culture while engaging in activities that we love to do. I also want to thank our sponsors for their generosity and can’t stress enough how important their support plays in the lives of Africans and friends of Africa in British Columbia. THANK YOU very much City of Burnaby, Western Union Canada, Province of British Columbia, Heineken Canada, Abantu Beauty Products, Umbro Canada as well as small businesses that support ACSCA through vending and advertisement. You are all appreciated!
I want to invite all members of the public to check out our website for regular events and make every effort to attend and be a part of this vibrant growing African Community in British Columbia. Regular updates are posted at www.acsca.net or send us an email at info@acsca.net or president@acsca.net you can also visit us in person only by appointment through RVSP by sending us an email. Our physical address is 10025 Whalley Blvd Surrey, BC or you can also mail us at P.O.BOX 81160 Burnaby, BC V5H 4K2.
Justus Mirembe  left  and ACSCA Vice-President Bobson Sesay.
Justus Mirembe, left, and ACSCA Vice-President Bobson Sesay.