Royalty came to South Pasadena last Wednesday.
Queen Diambi Kabatusuila, the ruler of Bantu ethnic group located in the Democratic Republic of The Congo, visited the city, accepting an invitation from Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian.
The two met when the mayor was in New Orleans recently and she extended an invitation for her to come to South Pasadena. South Pasadena Arts Commission Chair Jaz Sawyer joined the mayor during a ceremonial community event when they met the queen and her senior advisor, April Robbins-Bobin, during an arts exchange outreach trip to The Big Easy.
“We had an opportunity to talk about our prospective roles and shared goals,” said Khubesrian. “We connected instantly and I invited her to come to my beautiful hometown of South Pasadena to continue our conversation. She promised to do so while in L.A.”
Kabatusuila kept her word, and on May 29 she was Khuberian’s guest of honor, joining her and a group of residents at the South Pasadena Library Community Room.
“I’m thrilled she accepted our invitation to visit South Pasadena and made it happen,” said the mayor.
Along with lunch at Aro restaurant on Mission Street, Kabatusuila and others walked around the Gold Line Station, the library grounds and visited the city’s famed Moreton Bay Fig tree, a major fixture in town.
“She loved the tree, and touched her trunk and roots,” said Khubesrian. “She said the tree was happy there. She sat under the tree for a few minutes and rested,” noting that on a return visit she would spend more time under it.
Queen Diambi has earned many humanitarian awards, speaks six languages and shares a number of the mayor’s passions, including “achieving gender harmony across cultures and leadership, mental health awareness, music and culture, being playful, protecting the natural world, and being accessible to people,” said Khubesrian.
Once the date for the queen’s visit was set, Khubesrian reached out to a few community leaders and youth, who had expressed interest in an arts and culture exchange, to meet the queen.
“We spent about 20 minutes in the community room standing in a circle and talking and sharing various topics,” said the mayor, before the group headed to Aro for lunch. “I had preordered a family style-meal of some of my favorite Radhika and Aro Latin dishes including curry shrimp soup, chicken mole, tacos cazuela, cauliflower and esquitas sides, and an assortment of desserts.”
Kabatusuila said she didn’t want to leave and wished she had more time, but promised to come back and for a two-day stay. “We will make it happen and provide the community an opportunity to hear her speak about her journey and vision for the Congo region and the global community,” said Khubesrian.