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Nov 18 2013

Harrow Mayoress’ Ball With A Difference

cllr_nana_adanteThe Harrow Mayoress’ Ball of 2013 will certainly be remembered for the changes it brought to the long-established event.

Mayoress Awula Serwah, a Ghanaian born barrister, wanted the Ball to reflect Mayor Cllr Nana Asante’s desire to make the mayoralty accessible to a wider community. Ticket prices were therefore more attractive. She also wanted the guests to find out more about Africa, and its Diaspora.

In addition to elected representatives from Harrow and beyond, there were representatives of community groups, including the Mayor’s charities Flash Musicals Theatre and Harrow Community Choir, and businesses, including two Barclays Bank staff, who matched the over £600 raised from sale of raffle tickets.

“One of guests summed it as ‘a lively community event – good food, good dancing, and good company’,” recalled former Harrow Mayor Cllr Jean Lammiman. “We had a super time. Well done. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere buzzing,” enthused Harrow resident Susan Herai.

Each table was assigned a name and background information of a country from African or the African diaspora. Countries included Nigeria, Senegal, Malawi, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica to Haiti. The meal, provided by Chef Boateng, reflected an African touch with West African jollof rice and kelewele (fried plantain) and Caribbean jerk chicken on the menu.

DJ Marky J provided a wide range of music, which allowed the ballroom dancers to show off their moves, and worked through rock n roll of the 1950s, and popular music of the subsequent decades, including disco, and rounded off with the Candy Dance line dance, which had many guests off their seats.

“It was a delightful atmosphere, enjoyable evening and food,” opined deputy Mayor Cllr Camilla Bath. “The dancing was great – it was for all ages, and my favourite, the Twist, was included. A big thank you to the Mayoress for a great evening.”

“What a wonderful evening, good company, good food, and lovely music,” added Barnet deputy Mayor Cllr Bridget Perry.

“We had the most amazing time. Len said it was the best night out we had since we got married, and the food was excellent,” said Catherine Miller-Baldwin.

As part of Harrow’s on-going African History Season, MC and quizmaster Kwaku kept the guests informed by asking questions on countries represented on the tables. “What I learnt from this fantastic event where Africans, Asians and Europeans were interacting and having a good time, is to keep our prejudices in check. Because I assumed some of the people would not know some of the more contemporary and disco-ey music, and was surprised to see some of them not just dancing but singing the songs.”

The Mayor, a member of Harrow BHM Group, will be extending BHM Season by hosting Xtra History & Reasoning Sessions, an intimate, semi-monthly gathering for discussing history in the Parlour. The first event, Global Africa Quiz, starts December 23. This will be preceded by a thank-you reception for the Mayoress’ Committee who organised the ball, the support staff and helpers, including the young people who volunteered to serve at the Ball.

“I learnt that serving is very, very important and crucial,” said one of the young people, 18 year old Reshaun Forrest. “I met a lot of lovely, lovely people including the Mayoress herself, who is a fantastic lady.”

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