Black History Month. Celebrating unsung heroes: Kwaku


This year’s Black history month could not be more timely. In any given year this month allows us to focus on the - past, present and future - through the lens of the British African Diaspora. For most events and proceedings take an historical look back, others are celebratory through our culinary traditions, and some take for the form of galvanising community or political action.

In this short essay I want to focus on two things: political empowerment and a call to celebrate the community’s unsung heroes and heroines.

The reason why this month is in my opinion more important than past months is the unequivocal fact that, come what may tumultuous events will occur this month. By the end of this month the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set his political career on leaving the EU, in sharp contrast, the UK parliament is determined that we will not leave the EU unless a deal – unlikely in the extreme is brokered by the UK Government and the EU. Adding to the already toxic mix is the likelihood of a general election by the end of Nov.

The question for Black Britain is this: On both big issues - Brexit and a General Election - will we have a say? On both it’s imperative, but the most effective way to ensure our voice is of value and with political leverage is if we’re registered to vote. With political power we can make demands for racial justice and equality of opportunity. Our clarion call in these political debates in which poisonous strains of xenophobia is never far away is, ‘Use our political power for change’. Our BAME collective vote could decide over 100 seats, we must begin to understand just how powerful that is.

The second part of this essay is to celebrate the communities’ unsung heroes. Individuals who go about their business informing, educating, campaigning, empowering all of us, and barely ever getting any credit. Truth is they don’t do it for credit; they do because they believe it’s the right thing to do. And this month I am wanting you to write to us about your unsung heroes and heroines and we’ll publish the people you recommend.

My unsung hero is man who has worked tirelessly for at least the last twenty years organising meetings, concerts, talks, debates and festivals.

He told me is his goal in life is to empower the UK’s African Diaspora, and to fill them with knowledge and inspiration. Financially he barely makes ends meet, but always remains upbeat and focused on delivering events. My unsung hero for Black history month is Kwaku.

You may know him through his British Black, but many of his activities are via BTWSC-African Histories Revisited (AHR) and during Black history month he will be putting on a kaleidoscope of events such as a discussion on Reparations with Marline Ellis and David Foster.

He will be helping to organise the, The Black Question Time meeting with OBV Co-founder Lee Jasper with a host of high profile guests, including Dawn Butler MP. New African conscious meetings will be held not just throughout BHM but beyond that date too.

What I like a lot about Kwaku is that fact that it’s not about agreeing with everything he does or says, but rather engaging in a consciousness that allows you to explore.

Welcome to Black History Month, congratulations to Kwaku.

Finally, who’s your hero or heroine?

Simon Woolley