Prior to 2004 there was no association unifying/integrating all the African heritage groups in Victoria and other locations on Vancouver Island. Therefore Africans and people of African descent did not have a strong community voice and capacity in the Communities of Vancouver Island. Yet, whenever any group of Africans (African Cultural Association; Kenyan, Ethiopian, Somali, Eritrean, Congo, Mozambique, Ghanaian, Liberian, Sierra Leonean, Nigerian, Rwandan, etc.) and people of African descent (Black History Awareness Society, Caribbean groups) met they expressed the need for such a unifying organization. To meet this need, in 2004 the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI) was formed as a non-profit organization to build a united and strong community by cooperatively organizing, and supporting events and activities to meet the needs of Africans, people of African descent, and friends of Africa on Vancouver Island.
People of African heritage have been in Victoria and the Gulf Islands since the 1850s. However, apart from perhaps tombstones in grave yards there is little to show their presence and concrete legacy. AHAVI is determined to change this history by establishing a comprehensive Africa Heritage Cultural Center in the Capital Regional District of Victoria by 2015. Currently, the association is seeking a short or medium term operating space to work and build community in order to achieve the long-term goal of creating an African Heritage Cultural Center.