2024 National Convention: SOBA Arizona delivers in grand style!

The 34th SOBA America National Convention, held in Mesa, Arizona, was a resounding success filled with memorable events and significant milestones. From Friday, May 24th to Sunday, May 26th, SOBANS, their families, and guests gathered to celebrate and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and community.

The hectic 4 day event kicked off with a welcome party on Thursday evening. Attendees enjoyed an all-white welcome party at a stunning mansion, an oasis in the middle of the desert. The ambiance set the tone for a weekend of brotherhood, networking and celebration.

Official festivities began on Friday with a breathtaking Grand Canyon tour, which left participants in awe of nature’s grandeur.

The cultural evening was scintillating with a mosaic of traditional regalia and a kaleidoscope of African culture, seasoned with spicy African delicacies. The performances were superfluous and breathtaking, raising the bar above the ceiling. The décor was simply amazing, creating a nostalgic atmosphere.

Saturday started with a groundbreaking breast cancer walk, marking SOBA America’s first foray into health awareness events. Participants gathered in front of the convention hotel at 6 a.m., dressed in specially made black t-shirts. Dr. Bertrand Fote, SOBA America President, delivered an insightful talk on the importance of early detection through monthly breast exams. The walk was both emotional and empowering, especially with stories shared by breast cancer survivors.

The annual general assembly followed, where two significant motions were approved: the implementation of a 15-day grace period for membership dues and an increase in the convention levy to $150 for individual SOBANS and $250 for SOBAN plus one guest. Additionally, funds were raised for the Lend-a-Hand initiative, showcasing the community’s generosity and commitment to supporting each other.

Saturday evening’s gala was a highlight, as we honored Pa Ngando, the longest-serving principal of SJC Sasse, who celebrated his 100th birthday. The celebration was grand, filled with pomp and pageantry, and left a lasting impression on all attendees.

Sunday concluded the convention with an amazing BBQ and a nostalgic march past, where SOBANS and SOBANESE participated with great enthusiasm. The soccer tournament and the support from SOBANESE, who received recognition for their dance parade, added to the joy and camaraderie of the day. The march past, reminiscent of old memories of our days in Sasse College, was particularly fantastic, with huge support from the SOBANESE.

In addition to these activities, we celebrated the contributions of those who have served or continue to serve our communities. Special recognition was given to our fallen heroes who have passed away in the last year.

DJ Mola and the musical team provided a perfect soundtrack to the weekend’s festivities, creating an atmosphere full of joy, laughter, and camaraderie. The night was agog with subtle but fine music, bringing everyone together in celebration.

President Fote expresses his heartfelt gratitude to SOBA Arizona for hosting an incredible convention. This was truly a historic event, and he is  so proud of what we’ve achieved together. In his words,  “Chairman Fidelis Nkeze (aka MC Faro), your energy and dedication were contagious, and your tireless efforts as Chairman and MC were simply amazing. President Sona Bokossah, your strong leadership and vision were instrumental in delivering a remarkable convention. To the SOBA Arizona members, you’ve proven that even with a small but mighty team, greatness can be achieved.”

To all who attended the 34th convention in Arizona, thank you for your dedication and participation. Your presence made a significant impact, and we’re honored to have shared this experience with you. Special thanks to those who attended the AGM; your engagement is crucial to our association’s success.

We look forward to next year’s convention hosted by SOBA Tristate.