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Profile: Honore Gbedze originally published in Canadian Immigrant
Cultural warrior
By Sarshar Hosseinnia

At the top of six sets of stairs in a classic heritage building on Granville Street is the office of the Afro News, the only newspaper that focuses solely on the black community in B.C.

Publisher of the newspaper and owner of broadcasting company Privilege Group Holdings, Honore Gbedze, a very cheery fellow, can usually be found there with a huge grin on his face.

The first thing you notice in his office is a poster with the famous statement made by W.E.B. DuBois: “There can be no perfect democracy curtailed by colo[u]r, race or poverty. But with all, we accomplish all, even peace.”

Gbedze seems to share those same values, such is his positivism and determination to succeed and provide a bright future for the next generation. “I aim to slowly, slowly make an impression on the world, and inspire the new generation to carry themselves accordingly in the 21st century.”

On a white board perched above a door at the back of the room, there reads another great quotation: “It is my intention to have a positive expectancy of the successful outcome and as I walk through obstacles daily.”

The author is Gbedze himself, who has faced many obstacles in his life, starting in his homeland of Togo in West Africa. “Back home we lived in a dictatorship government for almost 30 years; everybody had to move and that brought me here seven years ago. It was a new world for me, but I had no fear. I instantly felt connected to the community.”

With his mind clear, Gbedze embarked on a mission that included having his own radio show on 96.1FM that focuses on African and Caribbean music; the radio program also features political debates with various guests each week. At the same time as he was establishing his broadcasting company, he was also working as a chef at the Hilton Hotel.
“I was already qualified as a chef in Togo,” he says. “I have been a chef now for 13 years, I love it … I love eating good food.”

When the broadcaster-slash-chef heard that the locally produced Afro News was up for sale, he decided to take it over and pursue his dreams of taking it to the next level. “I wanted to create a bridge of information between the African/Caribbean society and the North American market.”

Now that Gbedze has been publisher of the paper for several months, he says he also wants to give the black community the history that he believes will inspire them to “bring a goodness” to each other and to Canadian society at large.

“My vision is to create a leadership link to not only focus on the black community, but the local [Vancouver] community as a whole,” he says.