Wandsworth celebrates Black History Month

We’ve put together a round up of 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 arts@wandsworth.gov.uk if you’re hosting your own arts and heritage event or programme, and we’ll make sure to promote it.

Throughout October we will continue the celebration with a series of articles that honour the great accomplishments and contributions local Black artists, writers and intellectuals make to our rich cultural life here in Wandsworth.


Throughout October: Backyard Cinema screen some of its favourite black directors

James Baldwin (1924–1987). I Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 documentary directed by Raoul Peck, based on Baldwin’s unfinished memoir.

Wandsworth’s Backyard Cinema presents a Black History Month season this October, featuring superhero hits like Black Panther and Into the Spiderverse, BAFTA Award-winning documentary I Am Not Your Negro about James Baldwin, the heart-wrenching Academy Award-nominated If Beale Street Could Talk, the acclaimed Queen & Slim, Get Out, and more.

In memory of Chadwick Boseman, all proceeds from the Black Panther screening on 17 October will be donated to charitable partner Make A Difference Entertainment, which works to reduce prejudices and create opportunities in film and television for BAME people and other marginalised groups.

See the full programme and book tickets here.


Ongoing: beautiful contemporary African dance that channels personal and political histories

Izindava

Dance company Tavaziva is renowned for its beautiful and dynamic hybridization of contemporary, ballet and African dance. The company has recently launched its new online programme #DiscoverTavaziva, which includes a series of free online Intermediate classes led by Artistic Director Bawren Tavaziva, interviews, and extracts from some of its most acclaimed productions.

Tavaziva is vocal in its dedication to helping drive social and racial justice and speaking out against persecution, corruption, and fear of surveillance that are prevalent today, through its works such as Izindava. Growing up amongst persecution, mob-justice and segregation in a rural village near Masvingo in Zimbabwe, Bawren’s memories of freedom instilled a strength of spirit and resistance that has shaped this work. Izindava is a very personal piece that focuses on the redemptive power of dance, music and Rastafarianism.

Other productions to watch include Sensual Africa, which pays homage to the Tumbuka and Chewa Tribes; and My Friend Robert, which draws on Bawren’s memories of growing up in the newly independent Zimbabwe, under the leadership of Robert Mugabe.


Recycled Art inspired by African traditions

Join Jackie Mwanza from Ubuntu Museum on an exploration of some of Africa’s traditions of creating art from recycled materials and found objects, inspired by the work of the world-renowned Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui, who makes huge sculptures from recycled bottle tops and will also be sharing a collection of art and crafts pieces made by other African creatives.
Suitable for all ages, 6+


The Story of Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones was a Trinidad and Tobago-born journalist and activist. As a child she migrated with her family to the US, where she became a political activist and black nationalist through Communism. She founded Britain’s first major black newspaper, West Indian Gazette (WIG), in 1958. She is known fondly as the mother of the Notting Hill carnival. You can watch Black Heroes Foundation’s play about Jones on the Wandsworth Arts Fringe website here.


Dates to be confirmed:

Wandsworth Libraries: Black entertainers on the Victorian stage
Dr Kathleen Chater
In the 19th century an astonishing number of black entertainers appeared on stage, in concert halls, in churches and in music halls over Britain. They included actors, singers, circus performers and others who changed career, like a fugitive slave who became a magician, a boxer who turned to acting and a factory hand who became an actress. Their stories are little-known but show more about the rich history of black performers in Britain.


Previously:

4 October: Join a Black History Walk around Clapham Common

Black History Walks offer guided walking tours that focus on London’s African history, which goes back 3,500 years. On 4 October, 11am they’ll be leading a special walk around Clapham Common to expose the African resistance, presence and history in the area.

This walk features: The African Academy, an all black school in the 1800s; Black Freedom fighters and the Sierra Leone connection; African aristocracy in 1800’s London; Jamaican Maroons and African-Canadians; how enslaved Africans helped poor English people; Barclays, Hibbert and other estates built with West Indian money and more.

Sunday 4 October, 11am

Tickets: £10. Exact meeting point will be sent after booking your ticket here.


9 October: Black Heroes Soul Food Cafe

Join Black Heroes Foundation on Zoom for their monthly meet-up, where musicians, spoken word artists and dancers celebrate Black Heroes who have contributed to the creation of freedom, equality and world peace, and achieved excellence in science, sports and entertainment.

Friday 9 October, 7.30–9pm, Zoom

Tickets: Free. Book here.


20 October: celebrate the legacies of these inspirational black women cultural leaders

In this Wandsworth Libraries interactive, online event history consultant Kwaku will highlight the work of a number of British African women, including Dame Jocelyn Barrow, the first black woman to be a governor of the BBC, Jessica Huntley, a publisher and women’s rights activist, and Claudia Jones, the journalist and radical activist. Kwaku is an author/editor of a number of books; educator specialising in black music and African British history; and the editor of the website BritishBlackMusic.com.


21 October: go through the keyhole of 575 Wandsworth Road

Khadambi Asalache in his home, 575 Wandsworth Road. Credit Gered-Mankowitz; copyright Bowstir Ltd

Over twenty years Kenyan-born British civil servant and poet Khadambi Asalache (1935-2006) hand-carved almost every surface of the interior of his home using reclaimed wood – turning this house into a work of art.

The property is now in the care of the National Trust, who are hosting a virtual tour with Wandsworth Council to share the story of the house and its owner Mr Asalache as a celebration of Black British culture and the power of the human endeavour.

So grab a drink and make yourself comfortable as you virtually explore a key piece of modern heritage right on your doorstep. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Wednesday 21 October, 6pm, online

Tickets: Free. Book here.

23 October: Cook up an African storm in the kitchen with The Woodfield Project

The Woodfield Project is celebrating Black History Month with two live ‘Global cook-alongs’ as part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe. Tune in live on Instagram @woodfieldpavilion to watch two inspiring women with two stories to tell come together.

For the first episode Chef Freda will be cooking up a Ghanian storm straight from Nigeria called ‘redred and roasted plantains’ and will be joined live by Mecca Ibrahim from Women in The Food Industry as they chat about their backgrounds, journeys, and most memorable food moments.

Freda is an official African cuisine expert writer with contributions at thespruceeats.com and a well-known face on the African Economist. Her recipes are regularly featured on Guardian Africa network.

The first cook-along will be livestreamed on The Woodfield Project’s Instagram (@woodfieldpavilion) on 23 October, 6pm–7pm and can be watched on the Wandsworth Arts Fringe website afterwards. More info and the full ingredients list can be found on the Wandsworth Arts Fringe website.


23 October: We Will Still Breathe

Part of Battersea Arts Centre’s Make/Love season of daring digital performances, We Will Still Breathe is an online event of film and performance, debate and discussion curated by BAC, Alfred George Bailey and Tunde Adefioye. 

The event will open with a panel discussion, chaired by Tunde Adefioye and featuring Jaamil Kosoko (US/American Chameleon), Aminata Ndowand Mohamed Bari (Black History Month Belgium), followed by a screening of Alfred George Bailey’s film I Will Still Breathe, which voices the experiences of young people.  

The event will close with a series of activations by members of BAC’s The Agency. Experience Black Girl Joy through Danielle Honger’s UnRestricted LDN, Prince Agyei’s album launch which unites each of the wards in his home of Wandsworth and Undefined Fluidity, discussions around the Black Trans experience.  

Friday 23 October, 7pm, online

Book your free ticket here.