Sue-Shane Tsomondo was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to Calgary in 2014 to attend the University of Calgary. After graduating in 2018 with a major in international relations focusing on sub-Saharan Africa and a minor in English, Tsomondo moved her popular book club online and created an Instagram account called Sue’s Stokvel. The page now exists as a platform to uplift, share and promote the voices of writers of colour. The online club was expanded this year with a new website where Tsomondo sells used books, publishes reviews and interviews with authors and shares African folklore. The page has taken off and Tsomondo has partnered with Shelf Life Books to stock her selections. “It has always been important for me to see artists that look like me or have a shared experience, and that is what I wanted to share with Sue’s Stokvel,” she says.
Here are 10 of Tsomondo’s favourite things in Calgary.
“Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre is amazing. This city gives so many people places to be themselves and share themselves and I love that.”
Local musicians Kaeyae Alo and Lemba
“In Zimbabwe, because of the economic and political situation, I think the creative scenes have taken a huge hit. People don’t create as much there so it is amazing to find people like me being successful and making great music here.”
“What [the DJ and event creation group] has done for the music scene is amazing. They make summers so much more enjoyable with their outdoor parties — like the all-day Suga Cane party.”
“I have been obsessed with Jelly Modern for months. It’s all about doughnuts for me at the moment.”
“Taking a walk after brunch and stopping at Shelf Life in the colder months is a perfect morning.”
The Louise (Hillhurst) Bridge to Kensington
“I love walking this city. Walking from downtown into a neighbourhood like Kensington is perfect.”
“I was not a brunch girl until I moved to Calgary. We have the best brunch here. I love Monki. I’ll stay for hours and just get refills.”
“Sometimes Calgary feels very isolated from the rest of the world and the Glenbow does a great job of encouraging conversations around global issues like race, gender and colonialism.”
“I can sit and read and really feel connected to the city and the people here. I’m definitely guilty of going on a first date there.”
Rawson Lake Trail (Kananaskis Country)
“The view was so rewarding and the other hikers encouraged me and helped me when I was struggling. After descending, I went for a swim in Upper Kananaskis Lake. It was perfect.”