Thursday, April 25, 2024

Celebrating diversity and talent: LIAZ emerges as overall winner of the SCECSAL Cultural Evening 2024 contest

Some LIAZ members and the guests of honour 
The SCECSAL Cultural Evening held on 24 April at the Mombasa Continent Resort was a vibrant
celebration of cultural diversity and talent within the library and information profession in the SCECSAL region. With more than 150 enthusiastic participants from across Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the event offered a dazzling array of performances that exceeded all expectations.

From traditional dances to storytelling, the evening was a testament to the diverse talents of library and information professionals. Each country brought its own flair, so the event contained a rich spectrum of cultures and traditions.

KLA members during the dancing competition
In a closely contested competition, the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) emerged as the overall winner, securing its fourth victory since its first success at the SCECSAL Cultural Evening in Johannesburg 2002. The performance from LIAZ not only showcased an innovative approach that blended dancing, libraries issues and the SDGs, but also great attention to detail in costume and organization. Botswana claimed the second position, impressing the judges with their originality and humorous presentations. Meanwhile, Lesotho's enthusiasm shone through, earning them the top spot in the Enthusiasm Category.

The jury, consisting of esteemed personalities such as Dr. Charles Ngui Nzivo, Prof. Clara Chu and Getrude Kayanga Mulindwa, had the difficult task of evaluating the performances. Their expertise ensured fairness and transparency throughout the event.

Kay Raseroka from Botswana telling a story
One of the highlights of the evening was the dancing competition, a tradition dating back to the SCECSAL conferences since 2000. It has become a highly anticipated part of the event, showcasing not only the participants' dancing skills but also their camaraderie and passion for cultural exchange.

The highlight of the Cultural evening is always the dance competition, a tradition that dates back to the SCECSAL conference in Windhoek, Namibia in 2000. The Cultural Evening has become a highly anticipated part of the the SCECSAL conferences. 

As Zambia clinched the trophy and the honour of keeping it permanently, plans are already underway to unveil a new Cultural Evening trophy at the SCECSAL conference in 2026, which incidentally will be hosted by LIAZ in the city of Livingstone, the home of the Victoria Falls. 

The members of the jury
The SCECSAL Cultural Evening serves as a reminder of the profound impact that cultural exchange and collaboration can have within the LIS community. Beyond professional development, it provides a platform for personal growth, friendship, and celebration. As we look forward to future editions of SCECSAL conferences, let us continue to embrace diversity, nurture talent, and uphold the spirit of inclusivity that defines the LIS profession in the region.

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