My trip to Africa has taken over twenty years for me to finally get organized. Cheryl has been to Namibia in 2002 and Kenya 2007 and 2009 to join her friends Leroy and Joann Judd who organize an inter-denominational music camp for children that is held either at a church or sometimes a camp depending on when and where they have it. I will upload some photos of Cheryl’s trip to Namibia music camp later (Her brother Mark Kelly also went their in the 1990s). But our thinking about Africa began before that when African children visited Vancouver on several occasions.
A lively group of South African dancers came to the 1991 International Children’s Festival organized by the Tears of Joy Theatre in Vancouver, Washington. I had been chairman of the 1989 International and was a member of the TOJ Board when planning began to bring the children’s dance group Heshoo Beshoo to our event and other Children’s Festivals such as the one in Seattle. When they arrived they were accompanied by Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa one of South Africa’s great singers, a jazz diva, and actress. They put on a great performance in our festival tents at Waterworks Park and our children met them “backstage” behind the tents after the show. One of our kids asked my “why are they speaking Japanese” and I explained they were speaking their native language “Xhosa.”