New West gala to support Gogos in Africa

Good times and good causes are the name of the game at the Royal City Gogos gala this Friday.

The group is hosting a gala art auction to highlight the resourceful and heroic roles of African grandmothers in the midst of the AIDS pandemic. Belle Puri, CBC reporter, will MC the event, which includes a live auction, cocktail reception and no-host bar.

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“This fabulous event will not only find a home for stunning works of art but will celebrate the solidarity of Canadian grandmothers and their African sisters,” said Delora Harper, co-coordinator of the Royal City Gogos. “The exhibit has traveled across Western Canada, and this auction is meant to be a farewell party for this stirring visual testament.”

The auction is taking place on Friday, March 7 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Inn at the Quay, 900 Quayside Dr. The art is in varied media including metal and stone sculpture, paintings, collage and textile art.

“It’s going to be a fun event – and very profitable for our grannies,” Harper said. “It’s been over a year in the making – a lot of work by a lot of women.”

The funds raised go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which partners with community-based organizations that are run by and for grandmothers in Africa. While the event is nearly sold out, anyone interested in last-minute tickets can contact to see if any tickets ($35) are available.

Bidding for the 40 pieces of artwork has closed, but attendees will be able to bid on the art at the event.

“There’s an actual live auction. Some of them will be based on the online bids,” Harper said. “It’s very exciting.”

The Royal City Gogos launched a juried art exhibit at River Market in May 2013. Since that time, 14 grandmothers groups from Vancouver Island to Medicine Hat have hosted the art exhibit, with events surrounding the exhibit, raising $30,000 to date.

To view the gallery online, visit

Janine Reid founded the Royal City Gogos in April 2009 to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation in support of community-based projects that work with African grandmothers and the children in their care. Gogo means grandmother in Zulu.

Funds support a variety of projects in Africa including grief counselling, school fees and uniforms, seedlings and house construction, micro-credit loans and HIV education and testing.
Lewis, who served as Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa for the United Nations from 2001 until 2006, is chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The Stephen Lewis Foundation launched the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign in 2006.
More information about the Stephen Lewis Foundation is available at Details about the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign can be found at

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