The African Diaspora Council Inc. is holding its first annual Nelson Mandela celebration this weekend. The event marks Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday.
The African Diaspora Council’s event includes a dinner, a cultural performance, a 6K run and a soccer tournament.
The tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday evening, will feature four teams representing different countries. The teams will consist of players of varying African descent and other local community members.
Michael Kodjo Ananizoglo is the founder and president of the African Diaspora Council. He said he thinks soccer is a great way for Africans to share their heritage with Americans.
“We are known as soccer players as the same way American plays football,” he said. “So, we want to bring that tradition to the host community.”
The African Diaspora Council’s work focuses on uniting people with African heritage and providing services to immigrants.
“People misunderstand immigrants,” Ananizoglo said. “They seem to be rejected by the host community because they don’t know each other. So, we are there to educate or inform the host community who we are and what we can do together.”
Ananizoglo said he hopes honoring Nelson Mandela will act as a catalyst for uniting different communities.
“We just want to remember Nelson Mandela’s good work, so that we can step into that shoe today and continue his legacy,” he said. “The same as Americans are doing for Martin Luther King, the same thing we want to do (for Nelson Mandela).”
Friday and Saturday's events will take place at Harris Stowe-State University and Tower Grove Park.
For more information, call 314-399-7470 or visit the African Diaspora Council’s website.