Born in Tanga, Tanzania |
Azim spent two years in Tanzania before moving to Zambia where he lived until he was nine years old. There was a civil war about to start, so his family applied for residence in both Canada and the USA, but were accepted first to Canada. Azim noted that the family moved to here looking for opportunity and peace and in Toronto they had a network to build and lean on. Azim further explains how there are three main reasons; family, community and work opportunities that anchor his life here. Most of his large family [ including 18 cousins] lives in Toronto, and while his education began in Toronto, he has also taken two additional postgraduate degrees in Europe and Asia (London School of Economics and Peking University). Returning to Toronto in 2008, Azim is now well established here, with his fiancé Natasha, his community (Shia Imami Ismaili), his family and his work at the Royal Bank.
Toronto as Home
From Azim’s terrace he can look out over Toronto’s skyline and see buildings that are significant for him: the new Aga Khan Museum, park, and prayer hall that is due to open in 2014. The Aga Khan Museum collection will contain over one thousand artifacts and works of art going back over a millenium. The artifacts demonstrate the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious heritage of Islamic communities and the accomplishments of Muslim civilizations from the Iberian Peninsula to China. He and Natasha love seeing this building which they are so grateful to see and appreciate each day.
Connection with the Past
Azim remembers his childhood in Africa fondly; the ocean, wildlife and his family. This handmade object, made of Zambian copper was purchased by his parents in 1982. To Azim, the shine represents the magic of Africa, the vibrant energy of the people, and the happiness that children have even with few material possessions. The great African elephant and antelope reflect the exquisite biological diversity of the Serengeti. Azim says that being exposed to nature has had a positive influence on his and his families life. He fondly remembers seeing hippos, wild elephants, beautiful peacocks and zebras. His identity is strongly linked to Africa, and he hopes to one day to help improve the quality of life for people in his country of birth.
Azim is also a speaker with the Passages Canada storytelling initiative. Check out his profile here.