Portsmouth African Oasis was officially launched on Saturday the 23rd of October 2010 at Austin House on Milton Road in Portsmouth. The event coincided with the 46th anniversary of the Zambian Independence celebrations that took place the following Sunday throughout the world.
Activities slated for the day included children’s act, singing and performance, distinguished guest speeches, free food and drinks and music and dance. Free parking was made available within the secure prison car park.
Oasis Portsmouth is a charitable organisation whose objectives include the promotion and celebration of African culture, identity and heritage in the UK, the recognition of role models among African communities in education, business and employment.
The highlight of the launch was marked with the cutting of a cake performed jointly by The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Paula Riches and the Zambian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Professor Royson Mukwena.
“Oasis Portsmouth is a long awaited development that is poised to bridge the information gap that currently exists between members of the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities and service providers in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas,” commented Dr Cletus Moobela, a senior lecturer at Portsmouth University’s School of Civil Engineering and Surveying. Dr Moobela is one of the founding members of Oasis Portsmouth and a very active community worker.
Members of the BME in Portsmouth have often been blamed by a section of service providers, sometimes unfairly, for being a “hard to reach community.” The launch of Oasis Portsmouth meant this will no longer be an excuse. “Members of the BME communities can now be contacted via Portsmouth African Oasis any time and through a number of communication channels,” Dr Moobela added.
“Community empowerment through participation is our priority and I’m confident this association will more than pay for itself in deeds,” said Annie Kanyendo, a community empowerment advocate and strong believer in the strength that is found when groups of people work together in a joint effort to improve their own well being.
The group will have a website to showcase upcoming events and activities. The group will utilise email broadcasts to keep members informed of all the developments. The website will have everything from pictures of projects, events and activities to advice on general matters of interest to the community that PAO will serve. The website will be a one-stop information source and link to any further relevant information or news to many of its visitors.