Africa Oyé’s members and Board of Trustees and have elected Sonia Bassey MBE as their new Chair.
Sonia’s appointment follows nearly two years of serving on the Board and a lifetime of work in the local community.
Growing up in the vibrant and active L8 area of Liverpool, Sonia has a strong sense of pride, political awareness and community activism. She became an entrepreneur at just 19 when she established herself as a community artist and director of her own business, which she still runs today. She now works as Director of Public Sector Transformation for Cheshire and Warrington, leading transformation of services across the sub region.
Sonia is also Chair of Liverpool campaign group, Mandela8, which has commissioned a memorial to Nelson Mandela in Princes Park, Toxteth. Their projects help to conserve and widely share existing historical and contemporary heritage, support community development and cohesion. Sonia has also previously served as Chair or the Merseyside Black History Month Group.
In 2017, Sonia was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Liverpool.
Incumbent Chair of Africa Oyé, Sonia Bassey MBE, said:
“Having been a Board Member of Oyé for 18 months, I am excited to take on the role of Chair to drive forward the organisations new priorities and continue to ensure we deliver the best world renowned international festival whilst developing our work into new areas.”
Sonia takes over the role from Gad Kuju, who steps down as Chair after nine years in the role.
Recognised in 2019 with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to diversity, multiculturalism and our very own festival in the New Years Honours, Gad will continue to serve on the board as a trustee, overseeing operational and event management.
Parting Chair, Gad Kuju BEM, said:
“I could not have served as Chairman over past years without the help of a wonderfully supportive Board, Artistic Director and the whole Oyé Family and Team, past and present.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their help, and hard work. I simply cannot thank all enough for the support and friendship over the past years .Being the Chairman of the wonderful and FREE Africa Oyé Festival has been one of the biggest honours of my life to date.
I step down in the knowledge that Oyé is in a strong position. We have managed to maintain the remit of keeping the festival free for the past 25 + years .I am confident that this will continue with the appointment of the new Chair Sonia Bassey MBE I would also like to wish Sonia all the best; I couldn’t be handing the reigns over to a more capable person.”
This year’s Africa Oyé festival will take place on 20th and 21st June 2020, in Liverpool’s Sefton Park from 12:30pm til 9:30pm both days and entrance is FREE.