Wandsworth celebrates Black History Month 2022

The theme for Black History Month 2022 is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words’, emphasising that ‘To get to a better tomorrow, we can’t just focus on the past. The past is in the past. We can acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.’

Celebrating Black History and Culture all year round

We’re committed to working with, and celebrating the work of, Black artists and creatives all year. Here are a few of the projects that we’re proud to have supported over the last 12 months:

BalletSoul’s Othello21 received WAF Grant funding in 2021 and 2022 – beginning as film created during lockdown in 2020 and developing into a live performance for 2022.

Kay Rufai’s Smiling Boys received grant funding to work with 13 year-old Black boys from local schools, and exhibit their portraits first at Southside and then at Battersea Power Station.

Black Heroes Foundation were supported to perform their play, The Story of Claudia Jones, at WAF2022, followed by 4 schools performances in local libraries celebrating Windrush Day 2022.

Black Heroes Foundation also received a WAF Grant to display their exhibition, The Story of Flip Fraser, and we’re working with them to develop a summer-time schools programme, with a play to be launched for WAF 2023 and Windrush day 2023! (Watch this space!)

What’s happening in Wandsworth this October

Welcome to our annual round up of some of the brilliant activities, events and content being produced in the borough to mark this year’s Black History Month.

We will continue to add to this list as more events are announced. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] if you’re hosting your own arts and heritage event or programme, and we’ll make sure to promote it.

492 Arts Collective: Migration

Tue 27 September – Sat 15 October

492 Collective is a group of African Caribbean contempory UK based artists. The group – Ken McCalla, Sandra Archer, Alvin Kofi and Drew Sinclair, presents an eclectic mix of mediums from paintings and printmaking to 3D, with narratives drawn from personal experiences.
This art collective are the British born children and grandchildren of that first generation of Caribbean migrants to the UK.

Meet the artists on Saturday 8 and Saturday 15 October between 4 – 6pm, or call in any Tuesday to Saturday between 11am and 6pm.

“We have a unique perspective on the Black Caribbean, Black African and Black British experience, with a direct link to all these worlds and how they intersect. We decided to name our collective after the original 492 passengers who came to post war Britain. We are their legacy and we share our stories through visual arts.”

Drumming with Anthony & Company

Sat 1 October, 11.30am at York Gardens Library

Anthony & Company will be presenting traditional African drumming that is energizing, fun and inspirational so why not come and take part in this wonderful explosion of sounds and beat?

Call 020 7223 2341 or email [email protected] 

Sponsored by I Sensory CIC

Story Circle: DRUM

Mon 3 – Mon 31 October at Omnibus Theatre, 11am – 1pm

Story Circle is Omnibus Theatre’s free storytelling programme, and the next term we will explore the themes of home, migration and belonging. This October, join acclaimed writer, director and actor Nicole Acquah to unlock your boundless potential as storytellers all while enjoying some delicious Ghanaian food!

Story Circle: DRUM is open to anyone who moved to the UK from a country in Africa.  

Black Man Listen – the life of JR Ralph Casimir by Kathy Casimir MacLean

Wed 5 October, 6.30pm at Putney Library

Join Kathy Casimir MacLean to explore the life, politics and poetry of Dominica’s JR Ralph Casimir.

A pioneering Pan Africanist, Garveyite and poet from the Caribbean Island of Dominica, JR Ralph Casimir (1898-1996) played an important role as agent and organiser in the eastern Caribbean for Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Black Star Line. For more than half a century, he fearlessly confronted not just colonial rule but his island’s elites.

This talk, based on her lovingly written biography, by his granddaughter Kathy Casimir MacLean, explores Casimir’s political and personal life, and sheds much light on little known aspects of Dominica’s march to independence.

Call 020 8780 3085 or email [email protected]

Handa’s Surprise Story presented by Support 4 Support Victoria and Juliana

Thu 6 – Thu 20 October

Join with us in celebrating Black History Month as the story of Handa’s Surprise is retold in a cultural way by Victoria Asante and Juliana Annan

Handa puts several delicious fruits in a basket to take to her friend, Akeyo, but as she walks, carrying the basket on her head, various creatures steal he fruits. When she shares her basket with Akeyo, it’s Handa who gets the biggest surprise.

National Poetry Day:

An evening with poet Hannah Stanislaus

Thu 6, Sat 15 & Sat 29 October

Join local author Hannah Stanislaus for a reading and book-signing to celebrate their anthology: Extremely Aggressive Uneducated & Rough. Hannah Stanislaus (They/Them) was born and raised in Tooting/Balham and is the creator of Lost Souls poetry show, which had a highly successful run as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2022.

Thu 6 October: 5.30pm at Wandsworth Town Library | 020 8877 1742 or  email [email protected]

Sat 15 October: 2pm at Putney Library | 020 8780 3085 or email [email protected]

Sat 29 October: 11am at Balham Library | 020 8673 1129 or email [email protected]

Sat 29 October: 2pm at Tooting Library | 020 8767 0543 or email [email protected]

Free, no booking required.

Jezebel by Cherish Menzo

Thu 6 – Mon 14 October at Battersea Arts Centre, 7.30pm

Jezebel refuses to be defined by other people.

In a world where stereotypes are formed in a vacuum and individuals are defined by others, are we able to deconstruct the controversial stereotypes associated with the black hip hop honey? Can 90s video girls redefine themselves?

Jezebel is a dance performance inspired by female models who appeared in late 90s hip hop music videos. Images in the mass media often projected females in a hyper-sensualized way, reinforcing stereotypes associated with black / dark / coloured women. Join Jezebel as she navigates the landscape of hip hop culture, searching for ways to reclaim her own image.

“Cherish Menzo is a rock-solid, captivating performer… a force to be reckoned with, not only as a dancer, but also as a brave maker of her own work.” Movement Exposed

This performance is Pay What You Can. Tickets from £6. If anyone feels they need to pay under £6 please contact Box Office, on [email protected] or call 0207 223 2223.

Traditional Ghanaian Oware Game – Victoria Asante and Cllr Juliana Annan

Fri 7, Fri 14 & Fri 21 October

Originating in Africa, Oware is one of the oldest board games still played all around the world. Oware is an abstract strategy game among the Mancala family of board games (pit and pebble games) and gives hours of fun. All ages welcome.

African-Caribbean pop-up food market in Balham

Sat 8 October, at Balham Community Space

A pop-up food market in Balham – a culinary celebration of the diverse background of black chefs and cooks in our borough.

Ozimzim Cultural Troupe Drumming and Dancing Group

Sat 8 – Sun 9 October

Come and celebrate this wonderful, exciting and fun Ozimzim Cultural Troupe which signifies a group of dancers, actors or other entertainers who tour to different venues performing.

Sat 8 October: 10.30am or 12pm at Battersea Library | 020 7223 2334 or email [email protected]

Sun 9 October: TIME TBC at Northcote Library | 020 7223 2336 or email [email protected]

Africa and the Caribbean Through a Lens

Tues 11 October, Tooting Library, 1pm

A reminiscence project with the National Archives. Join us to look at images of Africa and the Caribbean from The National Archives collection. Alongside pictures of leisure and sports we will also have images covering other themes such as food, music, transport and childhood.

Speak with Outreach staff from The National Archives and share your memories as part of the event

Call 020 8767 0543 or email [email protected]

Tracing Afro-Caribbean Ancestry with Dr Kathleen Chater

Wed 12 October, York Gardens Library, 6.30pm

Although it is often assumed that it is impossible to research Black ancestors in the Caribbean, there are many records that can enable people to trace their family history. An increasing number are being put online and the links between Britain and their West Indian colonies mean that there are numerous documents and publications in this country which will help.

Dr Kathleen Chater worked for the BBC until 1994. One of her interests was family history so when she left she became self-employed as a writer of books and articles on aspects of history and also as a trainer in research skills for the media and for family historians.

Call 020 7223 2341 or email [email protected]    

Story Time with Kamapala

Wed 12 – Fri 21 October

Join local author Kamapala Chukwuka for a special story time featuring her books ‘Mummy’s Love for You Will Always Be’ and ‘Ama’s Gift,’ followed by a colouring activity. Recommended for children 2-6 and their families. Spaces are limited, so booking is essential.

Kamapala writes culturally diverse books that add variety to the world of children’s literature. Her books encourage children to be accepting and respect other people’s cultures. They also promote moral values of kindness, love for others, patience, confidence, empathy and compassion.

Storytelling and colouring session with author Izzie Kopbie-Mensah

Fri 14 Oct at Wandsworth Town Library

Local Author, Izzie Kpobie-Mensah reads her book series The Adventures of Adjoa all about a lively three year old from South London.

1pm to 2.30pm at Wandsworth Town Library | 020 8877 1742 or email [email protected]

Pop-up Market

Fri 14 – Sun 23 October at Southside Shopping Centre

The Wandsworth Business Team’s Black History Month pop-up market, which takes place at Southside Friday 14th – Sunday 23rd October, is a celebration of black-owned businesses and a great opportunity for African and Caribbean business owners to showcase their wares and connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

1973 and Me, with Colin Babb

Wed 19 October at Roehampton Library, 6.30pm

From 1968 to 1973, the West Indies did not win a Test series. They lost 2-0 on their previous England tour in 1969. By 1973, and despite this lack of success, West Indian cricket still played a central role as a medium of Caribbean self-expression in Britain. In the summer of 1973, could the West Indies deliver the performances and results to inspire the Caribbean diaspora in Britain?

1973 and Me reveals why this was a landmark year for many of the contributors, exploring the story, legacy, first-hand testimonies and Colin’s personal memoir of this iconic year. It reflects on patterns of Colin’s family and Caribbean migration to Britain, wider perspectives on history, identity, music and politics, shared family experiences of television in the 1970s, a collection of memorable events, and interplay with the 1973 West Indies tour.

Colin Babb describes himself as a ‘BBC’, a British-Born Caribbean. He worked for the BBC as a radio producer, website producer, broadcast journalist; and as a photographer in the Caribbean for education book publishers. He has made three appearances as a guest with the BBC Test Match Special radio cricket commentary team. In 2012, Colin wrote ‘They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun: West Indies Cricket and its Relationship with the British-Resident Caribbean Diaspora’ (Hansib); revised and updated in 2015.

Call 020 8246 6979 or email [email protected]

The Space Between Black and White, with Esua Jane Goldsmith

Thu 20 October at Balham Library, 6.30pm

“Knowing who you are, where you’re from, and your beginnings, is the only way you can find out where you’re going, and who and what you can become.”

Esua is a local author who was raised in Battersea, and lived in Wandsworth for more than 30 years. Her memoir is a story of self-discovery for a mixed-race woman finding her place in the world and has a special mention of Battersea.

Esua is a writer, feminist activist and development consultant of English – Ghanaian heritage. In 1975 she was the first woman of colour to be elected President of Leicester University Student’s Union, while in 2001 she became the first woman of colour to be elected Chair of the Fawcett Society. In 1977-9 Esua served as one of the first black volunteers to be sent on Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Tanzania.

Call 020 8673 1129 or email [email protected]

Recycled Art Workshop Inspired by African Traditions, with Jackie Mwanza of the Ubuntu Museum

Mon 24 – Wed 26 October

Using materials we discard everyday, participants will be able to make:

  • An elephant out of aluminium drink cans
  • A flower out of toilet roll tubes

The project aims to create something new and inspiring out of commonly used household items. It seeks to create awareness among the younger generation of the need to recycle, reinvent and reuse.
Jackie Mwanza is a local artist and founder of the Ubuntu museum – a social enterprise with a mission to celebrate cultural inclusion within education, the arts and commerce.

Activity kits will also be available to take home. (Suitable for all ages 6+)

  • Mon 24 October: 2.30pm at Roehampton Children’s Library | 020 8246 6979 or email [email protected]
  • Tue 25 October: 10.15am at Southfields Children’s Library | 020 8780 1945 or email [email protected]
  • Wed 26 October: 10.30am at Balham Library | 020 8673 1129 or email [email protected]

60’s Disco Night

Sat 29 October at York Gardens Library, 6pm

Come along and celebrate the closing of Wandsworth Libraries’ Black History Month events and activities with the music and fashion of the 1960’s. Open to anyone over 40.

Call 020 7223 2341 or email [email protected]

Nope at Backyard Cinema

Sun 30 October, 8pm

Oscar winner Jordan Peele disrupted and redefined modern horror with Get Out and then Us. Now, he reimagines the summer movie with a new pop nightmare: the expansive horror epic, Nope.

The film reunites Peele with Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), who is joined by Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun (Minari, Okja) as residents in a lonely gulch of inland California who bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Brenda Garrick: Jamakaspear

Mon 31 October at Earlsfield Library, 5.30pm

Come and join me for a reading of my book, Jamakespeare, where I’ll entertain you with poems – Jamaican patois stylee!  With a chance to write your own poem in the style of patois or a language of your choosing!

Call 020 8946 2088 or email [email protected]