At the launch of the African History Month UK Network (AHMUK Network) this Saturday, the conceiver of Black History Month in the UK (BHM UK) Addai Sebo, will give a personal address via video to the gathering of fans, organisers and presenters of African-focused community history.
In his address, Addai Sebo will point out that “Black History Month is African History Month as African History Month is Black History Month.”
Whilst the reason for initiating BHM UK may have faded in the 30 years since its introduction to the UK, the now Ghana-based pan-Africanist and environmentalist, will also point out that “Black History Month is Africentric in its intent and purpose. The essence of Black History Month is the space it occupies in the annual British calendar of events.
“It is this space that we should hold sacred, protect and enhance in our collective interest. It is this space that we should fill each year with content that gives meaning to our life and answers the challenges of our time. The space has been created for you to manage it in our collective self-interest. The month of October therefore is your space.”
At a time when history is one of the least popular academic subjects, the audience at the launch, which takes place at the Unite The Union HQ in Holborn, central London, will also hear a video clip of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn highlighting history as one of the most important subjects for young people.
The party leader urges young people, saying: “The most important subject of all to learn in school is history. Learn the history of, yes our own country. Learn the history of what the colonialists did. Learn the history of intervention in the Middle East…”
AHMUK Network aims to be a hub for disseminating information to fans, organisers, facilitators and deliverers of African-focused community history programmes. The launch includes videos, quiz, a presentation entitled ‘From Black History Month To African History Month 30 Years On’ by history consultant and BTWSC/African Histories Revisited programme lead Kwaku, and contributions by community historians including Arthur Torrington of the Windrush Foundation, Patrick Vernon of Every Generation, Tony Warner of Black History Walks, Avril Nanton of Avril’s Walks & Talks.
“Apart from young people, parents, teachers and those who deliver programmes, we’re particularly interested in engaging with schools, unions, housing associations and other organisations that put on African History Month events. This is an opportunity to meet and hear from people they could be contracting now, instead of waiting till near October before rushing to commission presenters,” says Kwaku, who is also the launch organiser and Network co-ordinator.
“We are in the third year of the UN’s International Decade For People Of African Descent, which calls for highlighting African history and the contributions of Africa and Africans to world civilisation. At this crucial time, as we mark the 30th anniversary of BHM UK, it’s important that African history delivery within organisations and at community level is given the prominence it deserves, harking back to the adoption of the African Jubilee Year Declaration, which many London councils signed up to 30 years ago.”
For more information or to book for the African History Month UK Network launch, go to AfricanHistoryMonth.eventbrite.com.