Sixth Anniversary of the Unity Cup

Osman Shihaby & Ahmed Ali

The Unity Cup started in 2008. It was initiated by the Federal Police, Victoria Police, the AFL multicultural program that includes Essendon, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne football clubs.

Majak Dow with all girls team at the Unity Cup

Majak Dow with all girls team at the Unity Cup

The aim of the event is to bring communities together and to create relationships between the communities and the police, especially the youth.  It is also for young kids to learn more about the AFL.

This year the Unity Cup, held on the 24th of March, was different compared to the past years; now there is music and BBQ as well as the football.  It has also been expanded to involve Muslim, Jewish, South East Asian and Indigenous communities. Also, there were AFL teams from Perth, Sydney and Adelaide, which they competed that day.  These different organisations attending the event gave out flyers and talked to people about the services they provide to communities in their own languages and in English as well.

The 2013 Unity Cup was very unique because the people who came to the event were not just watching the games but they got information from service providers too. The media were also there, including ABC and Channel 7, who interviewed the people and asking how they felt about the event.   Because it was such a nice weather, people who attended the event, were very much enjoyed it.

A Sudanese AFL player, Majak Dow, was there too. He encouraged the young Africans to play the game and talking about his own experience.

Unity Cup 2013 winners from Sydney

Unity Cup 2013 winners from Sydney


The 52nd independent celebration for the Nigerian community

By Emma Berberi

Saturday 27/10/2012 was a very beautiful day. It was the day that the Nigerians celebrated their 52nd Independence Day. The event took place in a community centre in Moorabbin. It was a day to remember, a day full of colour. Everyone was beautifully attired in their African dress.

The event was well organised. Everyone was assigned a table that was beautifully decorated. The colours they used were green and white which are the colours of their flag. They had snacks on the tables and plenty of drinks. There were drinks provided all night.

The event started with a word of prayer from one of the Muslim clerics and a Christian pastor. After the prayers, there were the Australian and Nigerian national anthems.

The master of ceremony started the day by telling us a very interesting story about why the devil is very scared of Nigerians. One upon a time, the devil took an Englishman, an American man and a Nigerian man into a ship, he took them to the deep seas, once they were there; the devil informed them that they had to attain their freedom. And the only way out, was being witty and are able to outsmart the devil.

The Englishman was first. He took a coin and threw it in the water. The devil dived into the water and went and found the coin so he eats the Englishman. The American man was next; he took a pin and threw it into the water. The devil dived into the water and found the pin so he eats the American man.

Finally it was the Nigerian man’s turn; he got a cup of water and poured it into the sea, and the devil was outwitted because there was no way he was going to separate the water from the cup and the water from the sea. The Nigerian man was spared his life by the devil. And from that day hence forth, the devil is very scared of Nigerians.
Then came the speeches from some VIPs at the event. After that, everyone had to line up for dinner. After dinner there was the traditional dance which was performed by a group of young girls, then performances to entertain the guests.

The grand finale to the performances was the musician being described as the best male artist in Australia, none other than Timomatic. He was absolutely amazing everyone was on the dance floor dancing. He was very entertaining with his music.
After the performance from Timomatic, it was time to award the best dressed couple for the night. The award was taken by one of the couples who were beautifully dressed. They were wearing their traditional beads from head to toe. And they absolutely deserved to win.

Africa on the stage

By Ahmed Zaroog, reporter at Sudanese Australian Voices (SAV)

African young womens, from the Social Studio, were on the stage in Melbourne Spring fashion show.

The Social Studio is a fashion label and social enterprise that celebrates the style and skills of diverse cultures in Australia.

Models from The Social Studio

It celebrates opportunity, quality and community through fashion label, retail shop, digital printing studio and cafe, The Cutting Table.

Also it creates unique, high quality garments that are manufactured on-site in their studio in Collingwood, creating jobs and educational opportunities for talented members of new and emerging migrant and refugee communities.

The Social Studio approaches design from an environmentally sustainable perspective. They create garments with minimal fabric waste and source materials from the local fashion industry. Fabric off-cuts are used to create jewellery and accessories.

The Social Studio kicked off Melbourne Spring Fashion Week with the launch of its spring collection,
Which celebrates the adventurous and bold spirit of their designers. The spring collection draws inspiration from, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Watch out for the metallic prints based on Sudanese henna patterns and neon headscarves.The event included a fashion parade and contemporary dance performance at the Atrium, Federation Square, on Monday September 3.

The Printing Studio is a digital textile printing enterprise. The benefits of this printing technique include dazzling color, minimal fabric waste and zero ink waste.

The Cutting Table Cafe serves East and West African inspired dishes, locally roasted and ethically sourced coffee, organic juices and fresh made smoothies and is open weekdays 7am – 3.30pm and Saturday 9am-4.30pm.

Wednesday African Night is open 6-10pm and includes a delicious banquet, Ethiopian coffee ceremony and lives music and dancing.

On Saturday mornings the Social Studio hosts Craft and Coffee, for creative people to bring in craft projects to work on around our communal table.

The Social Studio is certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.

Celebrating African-Australians Awards

By Osman Shihaby & Ahmed Ali reporters at Sudanese Australian voices (SAV)

100 of the most influential African-Australians were awarded for their contributions and the positive roles they have played in different fields that highlight their creative talents.

The person who launched the initiative was Mr John Nze-Bertram from South Australia, who is in charge of organising the concert at the Sydney Opera House on 25 August 2012. He built the website and established the help-line to contact organisations in regards to the African-Australians award.

Award Winners

The ceremony was attended by hundreds of invitees who witnessed 100 African-Australians receive honour awards for three main categories; individuals, organisations, and businesspeople. The ceremony went on for five hours.

Hon. Kate Lundy, Representative of the Australian Prime Minister and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, commended the success of the ceremony, determination and commitment of African organisations, and individuals. She commended their contributions to the Australian community as well.

Zimbabwean AmbassadorMrs Jacquelin Zwambila spoke on behalf of all African ambassadors in Canberra. She told those in attendance  she was proud of the influential role Africans played in Australia and requested more consolidated relations with societies.  She added that Africans are ambassadors for their countries of origin and have wonderful things and important contributions to make to their new society.

She also highlighted the importance of Australian investment in Africa, and the search for more opportunities to strengthen the link between the Australian and African continents.

Award Winners

This varied list of honourees, includes doctors, engineers, university lecturers, stars in the fields of the arts, sport and media, as well as senior government officials, and important managers and business owners and African community leaders from all over Australia. Each of the recipients had a success story or had done important work that would inspire others within the African community in Australia.

On the request of members of the African community in Victoria the  organisers also honour Australian organisations for their cooperation and assistance for African refugee stability. One of the Australian organisations recognised at the ceremony was the North Melbourne Australian Football Club. Their official representatives received the awards.

Local media in Sydney and SBS covered the event.

Women for Women’s Future

By Daniel Bol

The South Sudanese women living in Melbourne have strongly realised the need to educate more women for the future of the newly independent country.

Last Saturday, the fundraising event launched at Mitcham was an amazing and encouraging initiative for the future of South Sudanese women, both those living in Australia and those that live back in South Sudan.

The Baai Bor Women Association, just three years old, is an organisation founded by women. It is a fast-growing project, with an aim to build a permanent school for girls in Jonglei State. This idea is a challenging initiative from aspiring individuals who have realised that education is a greater problem in Sudan than it even was before the civil war.

Sudan is part of the Third World nations, where the war has greatly affected the future of women for many decades. The impact of this is that many of women who come from Sudan arrive without basic educational skills. It’s greatly lowering their employment opportunities, as well as their ability to communicate and pursue further academic studies.

Aluel Ayoor, the president of Baai-Bor Women Association in Victoria

Australia is a nation with a variety of education services to cater for a large influx of migrants. Australia realised the need to help and offered many basic programs, including adult education services. Out of those countries where citizens were not able to access a better education, Sudan is one of the severely affected nations.

But despite many services that are being delivered to all refugees in terms of education, Sudanese women are falling behind the fast and free learning here in Australia. This creates constraints for those women in terms of job interviews, using banks, hospitals and transport services and liaising with Centrelink. This is not a simple problem and no one is to blame for it, except the causes of the original conflict and Government negligent in Sudan.

In contrast, many nations in developed society see women’s education as vitally important. Women are always custodians of the nation; they universally provide some significant contributions to the nation and the wider society when they are educated.

As a consequence, the bitter reflections of the fast and painful experiences from this situation has prompted the South Sudanese women in Victoria to form their own organisation that helps both older women – whose education has been affected  by the war – and young women and girls, who have got their basic education from universities, colleges and high schools in Australia. They aim to join women together for brainstorming discussions on what would be the best way to help their fellow sisters who they believe are dying from growing poverty and lack of education in South Sudan.

South Sudan has just achieved independence as an autonomous state, but is still on a slow recovery in the learning process. In general, the value of young women in Sudan is a painful experience to explain in term of education, since they are only to be married off when they have reached the minimum adolescent age, usually between sixteen and seventeen years. This notion remains because of poverty and a way of life where parents demand dowries as income from their daughter.

It doesn’t matter for the parents whether the girl is in school or not. The parent would explicitly overlook the future of educated women for the price they would receive from whoever is marrying their daughter.

In mobilization to correct this situation, Baai Bor women in Victoria are happy to have found this organization as an alternative solution, which they therefore believe is a golden future for young girls in South Sudan, especially in Jonglei State.

The inhabitants of this state are three communities of Nuer, Murle and Dinka – their way of life is predominantly a cattle herding business, where freedom of education will be hard for young women, except for those from the family of educated lineage. So this project is aiming to bring the learning center to Bor, the capital of Jonglei State, mainly for young girls and young women so that they will engage in learning until they will be able to identify their future among the generations of the 21st century.

All people were actually willing to support the movement, even including the young male graduates here in Australia. Ajak, one of the organizers of the fundraising, encourages all young men to get along. “You men, you have to contribute, these are the girls whom you go yearly and pinch off your wives among them from overseas. Support us so that we educated them,” she said. This is an encouraging reality.

The call from women was compelling to all people that they need money from able people, and basic skills from their Australian brothers and sisters, to support the project for the success of building the girls primary school in Bor. Mrs Ayoor, the president of the organization, has applauded the Government of the Jonglei State in her opening speech for their offer of the land to build a school in the city. The project has already commenced with classroom foundations being built, and Australian brothers and sisters will have to come to Bor with the skills of teachers to help with mentor the young women.