Florence Shinanduku

Florences dances MUTUASHI

I am Florence. I come from Republic Democratic of Congo DRC. As a journalist back home, I came here to cover the Pope’s visit to Australia. Then I decided to stay; my parents were here already. I have a daughter and am divorced now.

Life was difficult in Australia at first; not knowing English was especially a big barrier. Sometimes, just laughing is all you can do when you don’t know the word.

Later, you think, “Wow, did I do that OK? Was I wrong?” I have picked up English after two years. People in Australia are nice and smiling, they are very helpful and make you feel welcome.

I am an actress and was in a play at LaMama Theatre in Melbourne. But I really love to dance. My friend, Sido, introduced me to SisterWorks, she said, “You can’t let this talent die.” I met Zena and showed her what I could do. She had me dance at the June Amnesty International event. My daughter danced there, too, and she won a $20 prize. She is very strong and she has a lot of energy.

I want to teach people how to dance—especially traditional African Mutuashi dancing. Dance lessons can teach children about a different culture and give them good harmony.

It can teach you how you can match your hands, your body, your hips, your legs; it can help you control the body. I hope SisterWorks can help me develop this programme in the schools. I can offer one hour or thirty minutes of dancing, and the kids will love it. Eventually, I want to open a school of African dancing.

My other dream is to make a movie about African immigrants: everyone has their own story about when they arrived in Australia, and their initial problems.

SisterWorks can offer opportunities to women that are suffering at home with a lot of problems. Maybe they have something to show to other people. I was working as a TV presenter, and I want to show my community what I can do.

Together, we can touch other people with stories of people who don’t have the courage to express themselves.