Rotary Fellowship of Palmwine (RFP) is geared towards promoting African cultural heritage in Rotary International and globally through the instrumentality of Palmwine. It is also intended to midwife positive tourism into Africa.
RFP has come a long way. When I was President of Rotary Club of Asokoro 2011-2012, I reformed the Club Fellowships to be one hour of fun and entertainment. Within months, the Club became the darling of youths, youths at heart and Rotaractors. In the midst of that we declared one quarter one project but ended up rolling out projects every month. In the centre of our entertainment was Palmwine.
When I handed over and the next President killed the fun, could not execute any project in 6 months yet fighting his board and most members which drastically reduced number guests to our fellowships, they removed him. The district instead of calling him to order resorted to proscribing the Club prompting a petition from the Club to RI. While this was going on the Club was operating informally in Gardens and Cafes and making more waves. RI after investigation declared that the District acted in error. All these while the informal meetings centred around Palmwine fellowship and the delicacies that go with it. This I will say started the birth of Palmwine Fellowship.
After the formal lifting of the proscription, I started attending every District function with jars of fresh and chilled Palmwine. (that has continued till date). On each of the break then, people will gather outside to share Palmwine and exchange banters. In one of the discussions in 2014 the idea of forming a Rotary Fellowship on Palmwine was mentioned and many supported it. The following year being 2015 the need to collect names and phone numbers of regulars to the Palmwine sessions was proposed. All these were during District 9125 functions.
In 2016 during another District function the Palmwine group grew that the earlier idea of a Fellowship gained momentum and a Fellowship was declared. We collected names and got over sixty people. We started WhatsApp meetings initially and within one month started physical meetings. We formed a committee that drew up a constitution then applied for registration with RI as Rotarian Palmwine Fellowship. To raise funds, we declared Life Membership of $100 and Annual membership of $20. We gave only three months grace for Life membership to enable us raise operational funds. Surprisingly within that period over twenty people subscribed for Life membership and as many for annual membership. The then District Governor Mike Omotosho apart from giving us all relevant documentations to open our accounts immediately registered with dollars to aid opening the dollar account. He was later made the Grand Patron. Every District 9125 event from then became a carnival for Palmwine members. I still remember the Palmwine fellowship hosting the wake keep of my mother in August 2016 with an all night gyration.
The Fellowship grew creating social activities and being there for members in times of joy: weddings, anniversaries etc and sorrow with reasonable financial benefits and uniforms (Ashebi). But we made our welfare contributions voluntary with the caveat that it is either you are in it or out of it from the date of your membership.
In 2017 Atlanta RI Convention, we were able to get a booth at the House of Friendship as a Provisional Fellowship and we thrilled Rotarians. Surprisingly getting full registration dragged without our being deterred. It was not until 2021 that we were granted full registration as Rotary Fellowship of Palmwine, RFP. In June 2021 we fully participated in RI Virtual Convention at both the Opening ceremony house party and another day for formal presentations. This fully launched us into the league of active Rotary Fellowships.
The launching of this new website is intended to be in line with global best practices and give our over eleven thousand potential members in over twenty countries a user friendly and interactive medium to know more about the fellowship, make enquiries or/and join us.
We are here to be the face of Africa, the Pan-African Movement and the epitome of African norms and values in Rotary International.
Our Fellowship is open to all lovers of Africa whether people from Rotary and outside Rotary family. Just come and enjoy the warmth of Africa while sipping fresh and chilled Palmwine and other derivatives from it and from the Palm Tree. Of course we cannot complete without adding that Gyrations are integral part of our fellowship. We have had over 10 of them since inception including in 2017 Atlanta Convention and at the 2021 Virtual Convention.
Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie (PAG)
(The Chief Priest) Chairman/Founder