Linking–Up!– Twenty-First Century South Africa: The Changing Landscape was the theme when the Hoffman Estates, Lake Shore and Windy City chapters of The Links, Inc. gathered for “An Evening of Awareness,” focusing on the challenges

Linking–Up!– Twenty-First Century South Africa: The Changing Landscape was the theme when the Hoffman Estates, Lake Shore and Windy City chapters of The Links, Inc. gathered for “An Evening of Awareness,” focusing on the challenges of HIV/AIDs. The HIV/AIDs epidemic continues to plague the people of South Africa, where 30 percent of the total population is infected– the highest incidence in the world! After Friday’s reception in the South African Consulate offices, 200 S. Michigan Ave., featuring cuisine and wines of South Africa, the Consul General, Honorable Yusuf Omar, brought greetings and extended his appreciation to The Links for their dedication and support of educational and healthcare initiatives in his country.

    A brief message by Dr. Gwendolyn B. Lee, the Links’ national president, encouraged the group to do more, “in effect, reaffirm their commitment to support South Africa.” The Vice Consul General, Dipou Gloria Manamela, presented an update on the current socio-economic conditions in South Africa, detailing the government’s escalation of multi-focused efforts to alleviate HIV/AIDS in a country where nearly 1,000 people die each day.

    Dipou Gloria Manamela, HIV/AIDS coordinator of Brothers Uplifting Brothers, in Merrillville, Ind., talked about her experiences working with people affected by the virus. Yes Is AWorld, a mixed choral group, performed an adaptation of Body Soldiers featuring lyrics on fighting the spread of HIV, that have been integrated into songs common to community centers and political marches in Cape Town, prisons and hospital in Durban and in townships of Johannesburg. This informative and timely event was coordinated by J. Kamala Buckner, The Links’ director of International Trends and Services; Adrienne Y. Bailey, chair of International Trends, Windy City Chapter and national co-chair of Education Across the Miles; Delores Gillium, chair of International Trends, Hoffman Estates Chapter, and Linda Smith, co-chair of International Trends, Lake Shore Chapter.

Finger Lickin’ Good Eatin’ –There just might be a 30-60 minute wait, but it’s well worth it, believe me! I’m talking ‘bout Rosscoe’s Chicken & Waffles in north Bronzeville on King Drive and Oakwood Boulevard. The name of the popular eatery will soon change to Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles after losing a federal trade mark infringement lawsuit to the owners of the long-time established Roscoe’s (with only one “s”) Chicken & Waffles in Los Angeles. We stopped by for an oh-so delicious late afternoon lunch on Saturday with good friends, NBC 5’s Art Norman, sisters, Dr. Helen Davis Gardner and Atty. Gina Davis and NYC’s Oscar Turner, of SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), visiting Art from Texas where he’s on special assignment. (Art and Oscar were “roomies” at Johnson C. Smith University “back in the day.”

    After our patient wait, we had a chance to chat with the affable co-owners, Darrell and Tonya Johnson and Thomas Smith, who admit they are simply overwhelmed with the response since their low-key opening. The affordable menu is extensive, and I thoroughly enjoyed my selections: fried chicken, fried catfish, buttered grits, scrambled eggs, “over the top” biscuits and waffles, of course – some of which I enjoyed the next day, thanks to my carry-out! And more: Helen was “spoon-fed”– collards and cornbread – by one of the charming managers who knelt tableside! “Sooooo good!”

Reunion Union – The last day is fast approaching to order $75 tickets for “The Legacy Lives On,” Englewood High School’s All Classes Reunion, on May 3, 7 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and hosted by The Eagles of the Class of 1968! In a couple of days, the price goes up to $100. All proceeds from this night of dining, dancing, reminiscing and spotlighting the talents of several alumni, benefit the Scholarship Fund for the Class of 2008. Now, just in case you aren’t aware or have been living under a rock for a while, the legendary EHS, which opened way back in 1878, closes its doors “for good” this June. For more and/or to sign on for this landmark party, hurry and call (773) 821-0560 or visit “The Eagles Have Landed!”

Curtain Call! – Ron Milner’s play, Checkmates, a soul-searching examination of marriage from two different generations, opens Thursday at eta Square, 76th and South Chicago Ave., and continues through June 8. Directed by Aaron Todd Douglas, the cast features Willie B. Goodson as Frank, Davalie Friend as Mattie, Keir Thirus as Syl and Caren Blackmore as Laura. Checkmates presents two couples, one whose marriage is steeped in tradition and a couple of “buppies” whose ideas about marriage and commitment are less clear. Milner raises the question “How is it that we, a people who fought to hold families and extended families together during the worst of times, now in these good times have difficulty seeing, touching or feeling each other?” General admission is $30 with reduced rates for groups, seniors and students. ComEd’s “2 for 1” nights are Thursdays and Sundays. Call (773) 752-3955 or visit

Sunday Fun!–Some 250 supporters of Lakeside Community Committee (and its late founder and executive director, Barbara Jones Green) turned out for the 32nd Annual Bridge-Whist Benefit Luncheon at the Ramada Inn-Lake Shore chaired by Dori Zollar, Dolores Robinson Caldwell, Vivian Durham, Ollie McLemore and Judy Walters and hosted by LCC’s Board of Directors. Erwin McEwen, director of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, offered brief remarks on “Giving Back.” A plethora of prizes, including plasma TVs, microwave ovens, gift baskets, gift certificate donated Juanita Passmore and much more were awarded. For bridge, coming in at the top of the heap were Connie Williams, Frances Hall, Carrie Davis, Audrey Williams and Mary Fields Taylor; and whist, Latrina Flourney, Dee Dee Hales, Christine Houston, Dorothea Adams, Patrice Payne and Sandra Broomes.

Congrats–to State Senator John M. Sullivan (D-47) from Rushville and State Representative Annazette Collins (D-10) from Chicago who receive Clifford R. Shaw Legislator of the Year Awards “for their commitment to Illinois youth, families, and neighborhoods” at the Annual Community Youth Services Legislative Recognition Luncheon sponsored by Chicago Area Project (CAP) and the Illinois Council of Area Projects (ICAP) today at the Springfield Hilton. The event is part of the Annual Statewide Professional Development Conference sponsored by CAP and the ICAP Conference theme: “Embracing Our Mission of Change: Defining Our Future.”

Condolences – to the family of Kim Jeff, the legendary silent auction organizer for so many charity events, who has passed. With her signature eye-patch, she was one of Chicago’s hardest working and most warmhearted volunteers for such groups as United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Jazz Unites, Jazz Institute of Chicago, Real Men Cook and the Chicago Sinfonietta, just to name a few. Services: visitation, Friday, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., Travis Funeral Home in Riverdale; funeral, Saturday, 11 a.m., Chatham Fields Lutheran Church, 8050 S. St. Lawrence; burial, Mt. Home Cemetery; repast, at the church. Afterwards there will be a gathering of family and friends at the home of her daughter, Chuan Dunlap, 9622 S. Bishop. Kim is also survived by a son, David. She will be missed!

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