In August, Norfolk County Council asked residents to find an innovative way to raise awareness of Black Excellence by identifying their favourite black role model, and in doing so, help promote racial equality and tackle hate crime. Residents responded with a huge number of ideas and more than 100 people, both groups and individuals, from across the county will be running events throughout October to celebrate inspirational black people who have made or are making a difference to society.
The list of role models who have been chosen by people in Norfolk comprises 15 names in total, some with international significance and some who have had a direct and positive impact on communities in Norfolk.
All the successful applicants listed below were awarded £200 grants to help them stage an event during Black History Month (also listed) that will celebrate their chosen role models and promote racial equality in their local community.
Jomo Kenyatta was the first president of independent Kenya as leader of the Kenyan African National Union in December 1964 and a prominent independence leader. As president, he worked to establish harmonious race relations, appealing to all to forget past injustices and work together for the development of Kenya.
Eden Kidane - Ethio-Eritrean
Haile Gebrselassie is considered one of the greatest distance runners in history. Gebrselassie is said to have broken 61 Ethiopian National Records ranging from 800 meters to the marathon and set 27 world records.
Through the running of the home, the fields, having the baby on their back, soothing the child to sleep with the power of their voice, African women have been the main power behind families, politics and every day life.
Victims of the slave trade and their ancestors in the Americas whose names have not been recorded by history
Celebrating the lives of the millions of people who whilst not physically resisting those in power, they maintained their cultural dignity, refusing to allow their humanity to be destroyed. They combined artistic elements of the ruling classes with their own traditions and commented on the pretensions of those who thought themselves to be superior.
Zimbabwean Community Association Norwich (ZIMCAN)
Gambian African Network
This event will be celebrating the heroism of Kunta Kinteh a slave whose origin was traced back to the village of Juffereh, near James Island in The Gambia, West Africa who endured pain to keep his African name in defiance of slavery.
Cromer and Sheringham Arts and Literary Festival (CASAF)
Usifu is a professional actor, dancer, percussionist and storyteller originally from Sierra Leone, whose unique skills introduce audiences and participants to West African traditions and cultures. An effervescent personality, Usifu’s background in theatre makes him an ideal and dynamic workshop leader. His workshops combine elements of drumming, dancing, storytelling and games to uplift, inspire and educate youngsters and adults alike.
Cley Poetry Circle
Creative Arts East
Abebe Bikila was a two-time Olympic marathon champion from Ethiopia. When he won the marathon at the Rome Olympics, he became the first black African Olympic gold medal winner in history.
Oladipo Agboluaje (born 1968) is a British playwright and an emerging force in British Black drama. He was born in Hackney and educated in Britain and Nigeria. He has written a number of acclaimed plays, including Early Morning (an adaptation of Mother Courage and her Children), God is a DJ and The Estate. Described as an ‘exciting, vital new voice with a sharp satirical eye’, Oladipo Agboluaje is winning recognition for his ability to write plays that transcend two cultures – African and British ways of life.
Norwich Development African Refugees Organisation (NDARO)
Tristin DJ inspires us with the African rhythms and tunes which are performed occasional at community events. Adele and Julie have earned the good reputation within our community for their simple but tasty African based cuisine.
Clive is the Reach role model for the Eastern Region. He has taken an interest in the young people that we work with and is an inspiration to them.
Patrice Lumumba was a patriot who fought for the freedom of the Congolese people from the Belgian King, who treated the Congo as his own private business. Despite his poor education and humble origin, he rose to become a leader and inspiration for his people, and the first Prime Minister.
Gadalla Gubara was a Sudanese filmmaker who has been making films since 1946. He is considered the first African filmmaker and has been a pioneer of African cinema. His daughter, Sarah Gubara, is considered Sudan’s first female film director. Our mentees are mainly young Africans who do not see examples of African arts and culture recognised in the UK.
Glennis Masuko is a wonderful Zimbabwean dancer based in Norwich.