To mark Black History Month, some of our Sanctuary Ambassadors told us about the who have inspired them in their fight for refugee rights and racial justice…
My name is Alice. My home is in me, I carry it everywhere.
It is #BlackHistoryMonth and I want to reflect on the women throughout my life who have made me who I am.
Growing up, the idea of ubuntu was embedded in me. Ubuntu is an African Philosophy of humanity, essentially ‘I am because we are’.
My mum Gladys was an anchor in her big extended family and her community in Bulawayo townships in Zimbabwe.
I grew up during colonisation; life was hard, even after independence. But there were always women activists, sharing, caring, giving kindness, love, offering a room on the floor to sleep.
I am because we are, as it was never about one person, but all of us.
I arrived in Europe in 2002, since then I’ve come across countless women who are tireless and resilient in their work to change things for the better.
A few come to mind, my daughters Meme and Tadi, Manuela, Jean Caroll, Zainab Koroma, Cecily my supervisor at university, Dr Sally Lloyd-Evans – they all give me a lifeline.
There is still a lot to do with racial injustices even after centuries, but silence is not an option – do your best for humanity. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Racism is an insidious disease. Things would not change unless many people stand up for these injustices taking place.
Pic: Alice with her daughters Meme and Tadi.
I’m Kushinga. My mother has always been a role model for me.
When I think of someone who has inspired me throughout my life, I can’t think of anyone else but my mother Grace, who died when I was twelve.
Not only was my mother beautiful, she was strong, clever, funny and kind. She had a strong sense of justice and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.
She battled AIDS, which would would eventually kill her at forty two, but she lived her short life on her terms.
She challenged a patriarchal society and showed me that a woman could do everything a man could. She encouraged me to find my voice and not be afraid to speak my truth.
Mother was an incredibly generous person. She fed the poor (some people would actually bring shopping bags to shop in our house), found jobs for the local young men and countless relatives.
Twenty five years after her death, my mother continues to be a source of inspiration. She was the epitome of courage and bravery.
Pics: Kushinga now and as a child.