Todun Spotlight is a campaign to showcase Canadian International Students and Immigrants and their views on life in Canada.
I am really excited about this week’s #todunspotlight on Wunmi Idowu, Founder & Director of WoezoAfrica, an African performing arts company based in Calgary, Alberta that thrives in preserving the cultural values of Africa here in Canada.
Woezo means "welcome" in Ewe (Ghana) and Africa in the dictionary means "land of perfection".
Woezo Africa -"Welcome to the land of perfection".
What is your favourite thing about Canada?
Canada is a cultural mosaic, I appreciate the opportunity to learn about different cultures – other African countries, East Indians, Aboriginals, Asians, e.t.c.. I have been here since October 1992 and I have seen how the country has expanded. I initially lived in Edmonton, Alberta, the cultural capital of Canada and that really promoted my love and appreciation for different cultures.
Did your accent change?
No, I don’t think so (laughs) and I did that intentionally because I don’t want to lose it. Being the director of an African performing arts company, it is important for me to be authentic and identifiable. I also speak Yoruba fluently; my parents insisted that we speak Yoruba at home after moving here, it was very hard sometimes trying to translate some words in Yoruba but I am grateful that I speak my language and I’m teaching my daughters as well.
Tell us about your company and how you have been able to integrate into the Canadian Arts Community?
My mum registered my sister and I in a performing arts company called Wajjo Drummers and Kekeli Dancers, for about 8 years. It was really exciting to travel and perform on different stages and festivals across Canada. I established Woezo Africa in 2006, and we have performed in various festivals and events in Canada and also in Nigeria. Performing arts has to do with diving into your core. African dance is entertaining, interesting, and energetic. People are easily captivated and enchanted when we dance, it's a way of bringing a piece of ourselves into the dynamic multicultural country that we live in.
Canada is accepting of different cultures and most people are receptive to learn from you, so I make sure I am always ready to teach about my culture and it's uniqueness. The community offers me the support I need for my business to grow and it has been amazing so far.
I am also a performer, instructor, choreographer and a producer. Woezo Africa recently produced a show called UNGANISHA (Connect), the dance theatre production elaborated the history and influence of African culture on modern dances such as Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Samba, Capoiera, Step dancing, Afro Cuban, Afro Caribbean and Salsa.
I work for the Calgary Collective for Equity & Diversity in the Arts (CCEDA) as the CCEDA Arts Equity Outreach Coordination for the African diaspora artist.
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