Quintessence Ball & Awards

TALL DRUMS Affiliate Program:

The Quintessence Ball: A celebration of African People in World History brings together African people from Africa, North America, and the Caribbean, to break bread and celebrate community and nation building in the African world. Entertainment is usually provided by African dance troops and drummers, and disc jockeys that provide dancing music from the rich African musical tradition for the dancing pleasure of the attendants. Often speeches and remarks in various aspects of the African life are offered by guests of honor.

One of the main highlights of the annual event is the presentation of the Quintessence Award, the preeminent Pan-African Leadership Award in North America. The Quintessence Award is given each year to at least one continental African leader and at least one African American leader, “for distinguished accomplishments in the person’s field of endeavor, and for outstanding contributions to the history and heritage of African people.”

Recipients of the award in the past have included Professor Ngugi wa-Thiongo of Kenya, Professor Chinua Achebe of Nigeria, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), Mr. Gill Noble, U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Professor Molefi Kete Asante, Vice President Atiku Abubakar of Nigeria, Lona Hooks, Esq., former Secretary of State of New Jersey, and Professor Dora Akunyili, to mention a few (see the list of past honorees). In each case, the recipients were present in person to receive the award, which is our only requirement of the honorees. The award is usually accompanied by a signed proclamation from the Governor of the State of New Jersey, and a joint resolution in the honoree’s name from both the New Jersey State General Assembly and the New Jersey State Senate.

The award consists of an elephant mounted on a mahogany base. The elephant represents the majesty of African people, even in times of adversity, while the mahogany base symbolizes the status of African people as progenitors of the human race.

The event is presented each year by the Sungai Corporation (publishers and consultants) and hosted by the African Writers Endowment, Inc. Please click the “Events” link above to get information about the next Q’Ball event and other events.