Celebrations at the South Sudan Independence Day Cultural Festival at St John’s hall.
Celebrations at the South Sudan Independence Day Cultural Festival at St John’s hall. Leigh Jensen

South Sudan rejoices

THE recent independence of African nation South Sudan was the excuse for a colourful weekend celebration in Coffs Harbour.

The South Sudan Independence Day Cultural Festival at St John's Anglican Church Hall on Saturday brought together Coffs Coast residents from a wide range of backgrounds.

Citizens of the world's newest nation celebrated the independence of their homeland on July 9 but in Coffs Harbour, other events and programs interfered with that date, so the festival was postponed, however, the event showed it was no worse for being a little tardy.

More than 100 people gathered at the church hall with Sudanese people, who were joined by community leaders from many nations including Togo, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, India and Burma as well as Australians and service providers to the migrant community.

Those who attended heard a presentation from South Sudan community leader Apach Mapieu about the historical background of Sudan, its culture, religious values, heritage and natural resources and economy, as well as the conflict which led to the country being split into two separate states.

Visitors also heard what was happening to members of that community who now live on the Coffs Coast, many of whom are studying, but some of whom have already begun local business ventures.

Dances and songs from different Sudanese areas featured in the afternoon.

Mr Mapieu said they had hoped to have larger numbers at the Independence Day Festival.

“We were targeting 200 but the weather has been a barrier, especially as most of the people do not have vehicles,” he said.

“We really appreciate members of the public coming from different groups.

“White and indigenous Australians, the peak organisations like the Anglican church, Anglicare, Settlement and TAFE.”

The Multicultural Breakfast Club, run by Sudanese-born Wilson Loyo, will hold its next multicultural breakfast at 10-11am on September 3 at the Cavanbah Centre.

The monthly breakfasts move around different cultures and the September meeting will be an Aussie breakfast, so expect cuisine like bacon and eggs and vegemite on toast.

Everyone is welcome at the breakfast, which is free, with food provided by the breakfast club.

The September event is being held at the Cavanbah Centre because the event has outgrown its original venue at the Coffs Harbour Community Village.



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