Sombo A Diba was created by Winnipeg choreographer Casimiro Nhussi with volunteer dancers from the African Community of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI).
Sombo A Diba (meaning “celebration of marriage” in the Duala language) was a 30-minute dance piece using African dance, songs and traditional stories. The work highlighted everyday life in an African village, including hunting, farming, collecting water from the river, consultation with a traditional healer, falling in love and getting married.
The dancers were all active with ACOMI and prepared for the showcase for over a year. The work was intended to express and exhibit aspects of African culture that might not be familiar to Winnipeggers at large, and to give a voice to new Canadians.
“For newly-arrived Africans and their families in Manitoba, Canada, the challenges of adjusting to life in a new culture and community are many. These challenges are amplified when cultural differences come into play,” said André Doumbe, ACOMI’s President. “Reducing these challenges for new Africans is the core of ACOMI’s goals and objectives. And the first step to accomplish this is to show and explain to our host community who we are and how we live. By creating Sombo A Diba, ACOMI’s aim is to showcase the deep essence of African culture, and its focus on humanity and community living.