Celebrating the Sankofa Awards 2022 with Medway African and Caribbean Association 

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Sankofa Awards 2022 solo singer

Diverse, inclusive, collaborative and engaged, we celebrate the strength of our communities and the creativity of all our residents. 

Our vision for Creative Medway could be read as ambitious, but the word ‘celebrate’ here is vital to us alongside the very important words that sit before it. We know that there is more work for all of us to do together throughout the life of the Creative Medway Cultural Strategy (2020 – 2030), but we also know that there has been fantastic work going on here in Medway for many years that we need tamplify, promote and support. 

We were delighted to be invited to join Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) as they presented over 40 awards at its Sankofa Awards ceremony on Saturday 12th November 2022, recognising the achievements of young people, members of the Windrush generation and local people and organisations who have recently supported MACA’s work in championing diversity. 

Carol Stewart, Chairperson of MACA, has been an active member of our Creative Medway team from the outset. 

She says “We are really proud to be still running this event, now in its 16th year despite having a very challenging and busy year. This time we particularly wanted to highlight the young people that have championed diversity, through our work with Young People United, a programme where we have been successful in bringing young people together from a wide range of diverse backgrounds, which we believe creates a better understanding of each other, and breaks down barriers.  

MACA Sankofa Awards 2022 mayor
MACA ©Chris Riley

We were also impressed by the number of nominees who have made remarkable achievements in their personal life as well as in community engagement.” 

This year the awards were sponsored by the University of Kent with whom MACA has had a long-standing relationship. They were hosted in the Pilkington building, on their Medway Campus featuring performances from members of the Young People United project. 

Following on from a very busy Black History Month -a time of year when MACA, as a volunteer led organisation are often asked at short notice to provide material and content for schools -Creative Medway and MACA are continuing conversations with the Medway Creative Schools Network and others.  

We want to look at how to build ongoing and representative collaborative relationships between the creative and education sectors knowing that the impact of creative and cultural delivery on all aspects of young people’s lives can be clearly demonstrated. 

Medway Culture Club is championing this delivery beyond school hours throughout the year, offering young people opportunities to engage with a diversity of culture and history in the broadest sense, and we were also delighted to see this team of educators who give up their spare time to run the club, given an Honorary Award at this event. 

Medway Culture Club Sankofa Awards 2022
MACA ©Chris Riley

In working collectively to write the Creative Medway Cultural Strategy, we wanted to endeavour to embrace the widest definition of culture that we could, recognising how many different things this could mean to our communities here in Medway. 

Culture is often expressed only in the sense of its infrastructure: museums, galleries, theatre, libraries, music venues, public art, festivals and events. We define culture to include not only these things, but heritage, food, the night-time economy, creative interventions in the public realm and the creative industries. And most importantly, to reflect the diversity and value of the creative impulses of everyone in Medway. 

Arriving early for the ceremony, we had the delight of watching the youngest members of Young People United playing and practicing their hip-hop battle together. They clearly see no differences between them. 

A posthumous Windrush Award was made to Asquith Xavier at the ceremony and you can see a plaque recently dedicated to this courageous Medway resident on Chatham Station. 

Asquith Xavier, became the first non-white train guard at Euston station. He petitioned against racist policy in Britain in 1966 which led to the change in the Race Relations Act 1968 making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of ethnic origin in the workplace, housing, and public services. “Asquith Xavier’s contribution to the struggle for equality, inclusion and justice is noteworthy as every ‘small victory’ was massive in breaking down the walls of racial prejudice, ignorance, and intolerance.” – Lord Herman Ouseley. 

These awards are testament to the continuing work going on across generations and our congratulations go to all the winners.

Sankofa Award winners for 2022 are: 

Young People United Diversity Awards:  

Aidon Hook, Daria Kaszynska, Elijah Allen, Elijah Moses Owolabi, Emmanuella Owolabi, Faith Allen, Grace Gibbs, Iris Heir, Isaiah Allen, Josiah Agba Jusleen Virdee, Kijahni Boothe, Kushi Daljit, Lena Gogol, Lovleen Daljit, Mary Bacon, Melina Cram, Moses Allen, Oluwayeni Fadiya, Priya Chahar, Renelle Kellman’davy, Rianna Patterson, Temitayo Owlabi, Titilayo Owolabi, Weronika Golisz, Yadav Hurry, Zoe Ononye 

Honorary Diversity Awards: Medway Culture Club 

Windrush Awards: Asquith Xavier (posthumous) and Bill Buffong 

If you are looking to celebrate Black History Month in your school or organisation next year, please consider beginning your planning process now. 

We hope that the good and necessary work going on to reflect a history of diversity and representation throughout our education system throughout the year will continue to grow and flourish. 

Useful links:

Please take a few moments to read a bit more about the remarkable award winners.

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