Celebrating Black British History

For this post, we honour those who have dedicated their efforts towards documenting, sharing and hence bringing to light the often-hidden history of Black people in the UK.

Walter Tull
A photo of Walter Tull, one of the first professional Black  footballers (with  Tottenham Hotspur & Northampton Town, after which he became the first Black officer in the British Army. He was killed in 1918, one hundred years ago).  You can read more about him about here

Northamptonshire Black History Association (NBHA) is made up of volunteer historians who have committed over 30 years to researching, documenting and sharing the history of Black people in the East Midlands county and their story can be read here.  The NBHA Project was the first major attempt to put Black British History on the record outside big cities like London, Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool. It successfully combined the efforts of individual volunteers, local community organisations and local agencies including Northamptonshire’s Record Office and Library Services. Among the NBHA achievements are the development of educational resource packs and a course in Black British history in collaboration with the University of Northampton.  You can browse their website here and find some of their publications here

A similar but different story can be found in Exeter, in the West of the country, where a group of people came up with a project called “Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots”, which can be read about here

Historian David Olusoga developed an excellent TV series and book in 2016 entitled Black and British: A Forgotten History; some of the clips and episodes can be viewed here

The Black Presence in Britain is a website that has comprehensive material on the same and can be accessed here.  You may also enjoy reading up on 100 Great Black Britons here or on the Diversity Dashboard of Black History, which can be found here


Inclusive Leadership

The article entitled “The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership” by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon lists the following as critical traits for Inclusive Leadership:

  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Cognisance of Bias
  • Curiosity
  • Cultural Intelligence
  • Collaboration

The article talks about each of these in depth; it also discusses the “new diversity of the world”, in terms of diversity of Markets, Customers, Ideas and Talent

To read this article in full, please click here




Remembering Sivanandan

Ambalavaner Sivanandan (see picture below), who was a leading voice on race relations in UK and beyond for over 40 years, passed on earlier this year on January 3rd.  As Director of the Institute of Race Relations, he re-named their journal to “Race and Class” and was the editor for many years.  Gary Younge, Guardian editor-at-large,  described him as “a tireless and eloquent voice explaining the connections between race, class, imperialism and colonialism.”

To read the full obituary written by Younge, click here

For more about the work of the Institute of Race Relations, please see here

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Another excellent piece written by Gary Younge entitled “End all Immigration Controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people” can be read here.  The final paragraph, very much in the spirit of Sivanandan, follows:

Nation states are a relatively new concept; migration is as old as humanity. Borders seek to regulate and restrict that basic human custom for the distinct purpose of excluding some and privileging others. They discriminate between all people with the express intention of then being able to discriminate against some people. They do not simply set boundaries for countries, but are metaphors for the boundaries of how we might think about other human beings. Immigrants are not the problem. Borders are.

For more of Gary Younge’s writing please see here


“I think it is incumbent on all human beings to oppose injustice in every form.”

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In this post, we celebrate the life of a great South African musician and hero, Hugh Ramopolo Masekela, known to many as Bra Hugh, who passed on this year on January 23rd.  He would have been 79 this week on April 4th.  Bra Hugh was not only a musical legend but a social inclusion hero.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are”

Bra Hugh certainly lived this out in his music, he produced over 40 albums during a career that lasted over 60 years.  If you don’t know his music, we recommend you go to you tube and discover his legendary sounds… here are a few recommendations:

 Stimela (the Coal train) a classic song that tells the real story of the coal mines in South Africa…

Bring him back Home – an anti-apartheid anthem…

Change – a political song calling on leaders who have over-stayed to step down…

Here also is his famous Homecoming Concert, after returning to South Africa in 1991 after 30 years in exile, where he had spent time in many countries in West and Central Africa, as well as USA and Botswana.  This was known as the Sekunjalo (“This is it”) concert.

So much was written about Bra Hugh when he passed on..

There is an excellent one from Robin Denselow writing in the Guardian here

Another great tribute from Charles Onyango-Obbo in the East African can be read here

For those who love Quotes, please have a look at some of Masakela’s great ones here

Masakela also started a Heritage Foundation which has the Mission “To unearth, preserve and promote Africa’s heritage and culture through arts and education and to restore Africa’s identity and share it with the world.”  More can be found out about the Foundation here

Please do also visit the official Hugh Masakela site here for more about his life and work.

Rest in Peace Bra Hugh… you are missed by many millions and your legacy will go on and on, as you continue to inspire future generations.

Quote for the week – Margaret Ogola

“Unless we recognise that each individual is irrepeatable and valuable by virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot begin to talk about human rights. This includes the right to be born, as all of us have enjoyed. True justice should be for each human being, visible and invisible, young and old, disabled and able, to enjoy fully their right to life. The accidental attributes that we acquire such as colour, sex intelligence, economic circumstances, physical or mental disability should not be used as an excuse to deprive a person of life.”

Taken from a speech made in Beijing in 1995 called “On the Dignity of the African Woman”, which can be viewed here.  Margaret Ogola has inspired many readers in Kenya and beyond with her novels, which often give a particular focus to the status of women in society.  She died of cancer in 2011, you can read more about her in this newspaper article here and a warm, powerful tribute here which also discusses issues of Gender and Sexuality in depth.

Social Inclusion Hero: Celebrating Dr Denis Mukwege (DR Congo)

For this piece, we thought it appropriate to honour the work of Dr Denis Mukwege in Bukavu, DR Congo, who has gone from being a pioneering surgeon to an international human rights advocate in the fight against Rape and Sexual Violence. There is growing awareness worldwide that rape is used as a weapon of war in conflict. We wish to bring attention to the enormous challenge facing women and children and especially those in conflict situations.

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Dr. Denis Mukwege, 62,  is a world-renowned gynaecological surgeon who is the founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He founded the hospital in 1999 as a clinic for gynaecological and obstetric care, and expected to be working on issues of maternal health. Since 1999, however, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence. The hospital not only treats survivors with physical wounds, but also provides legal, and psycho-social services to its patients. Even patients who cannot afford post-rape medical care are treated without charge at Panzi Hospital.

“When war turns on women and children, I think the world must do more for them,” he says.

For an overview about Dr Denis, please see here and a recent article giving a summary of his work is here.

The work of Panzi Foundation can be read about here and specifically the Panzi holistic healing model is described here.

There is also a more in-depth article from 2009 that is still very relevant today and is co-authored by Dr Denis with Cathy Nangini titled “Rape with Extreme Violence: The New Pathology in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo” that can be read here.

Dr. Denis Mukwege is our first Social Inclusion Hero(ine) for February 2017 and we plan to honour many more on a monthly basis.  If you would like to propose someone, please do get in touch…

E-mail us at social.inclusion4all@gmail.com

January Quotes

Courtesy of New African magazine (January 2018 edition), here are some beautiful quotes to inspire you – each of the people has a link to their Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them:

“Don’t under-estimate the power of people.  Our weakness is that we do not know how powerful we are – and we are not using the power we have as citizens.  Go out there and organise, organise, organise.  Mobilise, mobilise, mobilise.  We’ll get there.”  (Graca Machel, Mozambique)

“Men must stand shoulder to shoulder with women.  Men have a responsibility to speak out in their communities for the women they love.”  (Dr. Denis Mukwege, DR Congo)

“Leadership is about falling in love with the people you serve and the people falling in love with you.” (Joyce Banda, Malawi)

“It’s high time that leaders got off their high horse and mingle with the masses, feel the scorching sun and the heat of the matter.  Only then will the passion be ignited.” (Yemi Alade, Nigeria)

“You are never too young to lead, and you should doubt your capacity to triumph where others have not.” (Kofi Annan, Ghana)