Black History Month: “I believe it’s important to remember that we, as Black people, don’t need to wait for one month out of the year – we can be celebrating each other at any time.”
We’re celebrating Black History Month #ProudToBe with stories from Black people across Wales on lessons Black history can teach us about the future.
Here, Kimberley Mamhende, 23, Future Generations Leadership Academy alumni, climate activist, youth advocate and business development manager from Swansea, talks about the importance of supporting and building each other up, and why she doesn’t just want climate action – she wants climate justice.
“All my life I have wanted to become a doctor, however in my second year of studies, when I started plugging myself in to different communities and meeting different people through networking, I realised there was so much to do. And impacts to be made in so many ways."
“I graduated last year with a first class honours in Medical Biochemistry from Swansea University.
My passion is anything to do with empowerment for people – I want people to be their best selves, the best versions that they can be, and I believe people should be helped to achieve that. I was quite shy when I was younger. I was very reserved, very academic and found it difficult to open up and try new things, so for me, I like to help people who potentially may have low self-confidence, or might not know what to do or where to go.
I recently became the Business Development manager for The Centre of African Entrepreneurship, based in Swansea.
I work to develop strategies for the organisation to meet the needs of the communities we serve through seeking out new opportunities for growth, securing funding and implementing new projects.
I’m also able to support young, aspiring entrepreneurs from ethnically diverse backgrounds through creating a vibrant and inclusive networks, connecting them with like-minded individuals and supporting them on their journeys.
My climate action work focuses on raising awareness and encouraging action from individuals who are typically disengaged, and who are already or will be the most affected by the effects of climate change.
No contribution is too small. If we keep doing things the way we are doing them now, the whole earth, every species in it, everything, will be in danger, so things need to change.
Most of the countries right now who are suffering the effects of climate change are already marginalised areas.
Parts of Africa, parts of Malawi – my dad’s side of the family is Malawian – people are suffering the impacts of climate change there because of droughts, and not having crops. Parts of Zimbabwe are experiencing floods, which is something that never used to happen. I’m a climate activist – I want climate justice.
The actions that we take here affect people all over the world. This might be because we’re ‘not there yet’, and people might not take it as seriously, but lives are being changed across the world. That’s why I’m fighting for climate justice and accountability from everyone.
We should all be acting like the global citizens we are.
In support of climate action, radical changes need to happen, and we need a collaborative approach – the government needs to be working together, with communities, as we cannot do this alone.
There have been ambitious plans set out to deal with this crisis, however, we need strategies in place to support them.
By focusing on emissions and becoming more energy efficient as an overall goal, this would positively impact manufacturing, housing, transport – all of society’s sectors, and we would have a chance of being net zero by 2050, if changes are implemented slowly.
As Black History Month is recognised across Wales, I believe it’s important to remember that we, as Black people, don’t need to wait for one month out of the year – we can be celebrating each other at any time.
For me, I hope that this year’s Black History Month doesn’t fade into the ones that have come before, and that we keep highlighting and showcasing individuals – their stories, experiences and their achievements beyond October, as part of the vast landscape of Wales.
It can sometimes feel that Black History Month tells one aspect of a multi-faceted story, and that one aspect is thought to be same for all Black people. Although the past does shape us, I want to focus on the present and the future.
With the amount of things we’re achieving in all of our different capacities, we are actively creating our own history.”
As told to Emma Evans.
We believe Black history should be celebrated all year round. Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act puts a legal obligation on Welsh Government and public bodies to take action to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales and create a more equal Wales and a Wales that promotes and protects culture and heritage.