Renowned Ukrainian-Nigerian dancer and choreographer Adelina Deli received another call from her father from the Republic of Congo after 20 years. To his horror, his daughter’s home is under full-blown Russian invasion. Shocked by the violence in Russia, the man offered to help.
More than nine months later, Adelina Deli is still in touch with her family in Africa, including her father, whom she has never met in real life before.
“War is above any personal conflict and different outlook on life. Suffering from a state of war unites people of all races and nationalities. War is pure evil that must be defeated by goodness,” she said.
Adelina Deli was born in Kyiv to a mother from Zhytomyr, about 120 kilometers from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and grandparents from the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Adelina fell in love with dance at an early age and has excelled in various dance schools. At the age of 21, Deli participated in two seasons of Ukraine’s “Dancing with the Stars”, was the choreographer of the Azerbaijani team at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, collaborated with various Ukrainian artists, filmed numerous segments, and appeared on many international stages above, including Portugal, Estonia, Spain, Dubai, Cyprus, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt.
Deli credits her success with her creativity, sense of rhythm and immense dance talent – something she owes a debt of gratitude to her father to her African ancestry.
For the past five years, she has been touring the world with the famous Ukrainian songstress NK. When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Adelina’s “suitcase life” changed in one day. Deli’s husband lost his younger brother and grandmother while trying to escape the shelling.
“It was March, the Dnieper was cold, the boat capsized, and they died. Nothing could take away the pain. The pain of innocent adults, especially children,” she said, noting that the war has brought great suffering to those around her. caused great pain. “Russia’s war on Ukraine is terrible. I don’t want it to be an enemy. I think you can get through everything – crises, rallies. But war is different”.
What was it like growing up as an Afro-Ukrainian?
“Ukrainians are not just white, they are people of any color. The fact that people here speak different languages and have different beliefs and political beliefs doesn’t prevent us from having meaningful relationships with each other. Ukrainians are not trying to create a “pure” country with only white people. Instead, we are open to diversity – in terms of culture, background, choice, race, etc. As a black person growing up in Ukraine, I have never felt Being discriminated against. My roots actually helped me become who I am today.”
What is your career plan for the next 10 years?
“The latest 10-year plan, for sure, is self-development, self-actualization. I want to devote as much as possible to my work: dancing and modeling. I want to try myself in terms of organizing events. I’m open to experimentation in terms of career , until I am ready to sing. But most importantly, I want to promote Ukraine and Nigeria to the world. My goal is to show how much Ukrainians can contribute to the world – they are diverse and talented, with a rich culture And history. I thrive and make it through my work. And plan to dedicate my entire career to this.”
With high numbers of malnourished children and high rates of poverty in Africa, do you plan to use your talents to raise awareness of the need to solve Africa’s problems?
“I would very much like to get such a name in the world that many people will listen to me. One of my wishes is to have funds to help hungry children in Africa. I would very much like to be a goodwill ambassador. If God rewards me and this happens I would be happy if that was the case because there is nothing more important in life than bringing love and kindness to the world. When you have a voice that counts, you have a responsibility to speak out against injustice like child poverty or war. Spread the word The truth about how African children starve is important – and it is equally important for the world to know that Ukrainian children are suffering too. Many of them have lost their parents, their homes, and even their education as a result of the war. If we want our own When rights are guaranteed, we should protect the rights of others. Not only at home, but wherever necessary, whether it is Ukraine, Africa, Europe or elsewhere. Only by resisting authoritarian practices around the world, We can fight authoritarianism.”
What are your thoughts on many Africans being neutral or supporting the war?
“That’s something I don’t understand. For Africans and people of African descent, skin color acts as a unifying force. That’s how we find our ‘brothers and sisters’ all over the world. We approach people even though we don’t know them , and start a conversation. I think the story of me and my father is a good example of that – against all odds and the distance between us, we found each other. So, I don’t understand, if Africans see their ‘s “brothers and sisters” who are suffering in Ukraine, why would they choose to turn their backs? Even worth it – support a full scale invasion. And those aggressors feed on neutrality – if more countries declare neutrality in the face of injustice than support Oppressors only get stronger in countries fighting for independence. No one’s suffering is more or less worthy than another’s. Why are Africans turning a blind eye to Ukraine, which has always contributed to maintaining peace on the African continent? In a situation like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even neutrality can be dangerous because it can fuel the oppressor and undermine global security. Today, Ukraine is in the midst of an anti-colonial war against the Russian Empire, and if the aggressor is not stopped in time, Anywhere else, including Africa, could be at risk.”
Do you think Russian propaganda played a role here?
“I want to convey the need for information filtering to the people of Africa. The aggressors create a lot of fake news to spread their stories. Like-“Ukraine does not want peace, otherwise, it will give up the territory”. Give aggression at the cost of colonization Does any kind of concession seem fair or just? Who better understand the absurdity of such thinking than the people of Africa? When we see Russia choose violence over diplomacy to a degree not seen in Europe since World War II the extent to which it has occurred.
I believe that when someone is in trouble, all must unite to defeat this evil. Ukraine needs help, every penny, every voice counts! “
Are you considering collaborating with colleagues in Africa and other continents?
“I am open to any career experimentation. Unfortunately, at the moment, my industry has no connection to Africa, but I would very much like to work on that! It would be great to be able to build bridges and work there, it will be a great opportunity for me. It was a really cool experience. Ukrainians are very talented and creative musicians. Afro-Ukrainians can bring Ukrainian culture to Africa and vice versa. The result will be a solid basis for talent exchange and future collaborations.”
The war changed Adelina Deli’s life just as it changed millions of other Ukrainians. Her workload has been reduced by 90% because the war has affected every sector of the country, including culture. Many artists went to the front, some died, and some devoted themselves to charity. In times of war, culture also becomes part of the resistance, raising the necessary funds by maintaining a fighting spirit and working together. Deli traveled to Spain with NK to hold a benefit concert, raise drone donations for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and plans to promote and participate in more charitable events.
“The strongest feeling is when you stand on stage in Spain, abroad, when your artist sings “O Red Viburnum” (the famous Ukrainian song – «Ойу лузі червона калина»), the whole hall is cry,” she said. Many joined the message in support of the resistance, including famous South African DJ The Kisffness, whose video has over 13 million views on Youtube. Moments like this remind us that the truth is on Ukraine’s side — that the country is fighting an aggressor who is causing suffering to millions because of its imperial ambitions, Deley said. Ukraine will defeat the beast and live in peace.