Commissioned work for Central Highland Arts Atlas
New world new opportunities
When I first moved to Ballarat in late 2010, I didn’t feel ‘at home’ straightaway. No friends, no family, no ties with the new land and new culture. It was pretty tough. Since then, Australia has just become my second home country and, after leaving Europe, I found being in Australia promising yet not as easy to adapt to, as I first thought.
I have committed myself to months and even years of networking and making new connections to better the feeling of “belonging”. Recently, I have been on a look out for people and artists from multicultural backgrounds.
Meet one of the pioneering African entrepreneurs in Ballarat – Nyanchar Deng who is a Director of Share Africa.
Share Africa is about sharing African culture around Victoria. Share Africa aims to bridge the gap between the Australian culture and the African culture through enjoyment of all things African. It provides authentic African crafts and homewares, beading workshops, cooking classes and delicious African food for any events – commercial, festivals and smaller family and public gatherings like the Art Sparks Four back in May 2012 where we had a chance trying freshly made Cous Cous that tasted fabulous, remember?
Nyanchar was born in South Sudan and came to Australia as a refugee. She was granted a permanent visa in 2004 and started her new life in a new safe country. She has four children.
How it all started…
Nyanchar tells me she started Share Africa in 2009 after receiving many requests for her to share her culture. “In Australia it’s good because you can do what you like to do and sell the craft, there are a lot of opportunities”
“I feel like a businesswoman. I have a lot of repeat business and amazing feedback from people. They say to me: keep going, continue doing what you are doing”.
On question what motivates her to run her business Nyanchar replies: “because I like to share my culture with a lot of people, share the food and it makes me happy. If I didn’t have Share Africa, I would find another job that would engage the community.” She finds relaxation and happiness in creating her craft and joy of sharing her cooking skills with others.
From my own experience, it is not easy to run a business in a new country. “Just for now, there are many African entrepreneurs who don’t know how to run their business yet, it is difficult to start a business when you have English as a second language, it is very hard to do it”. Nyanchar still find the computer skills difficult to learn but she adds “Everything else I find is very good and I really commit myself”.
You can check Nyanchar’s work on www.facebook.com/shareafrica page on Facebook and her contact details are:
Ballarat Backyard Tasters will feature Share Africa food stall on March 1st, 2013 from 5-8pm. Don’t miss the opportunity of tasting this great exotic food and chatting to Nyanchar about her work.
Here are a couple of hand made craft Nyanchar has brought to show me. All handmade products are also available online from https://www.facebook.com/ShareAfrica website.
This interview was produced for the Central Highlands Arts Atlas with thanks to Vic Health, Central Highlands LEAP project, Ballarat Arts Alive & the City of Ballarat.