November 9, 2020, by aczjb1

What’s in a name? Black History Month at NUBS

To celebrate Black History Month, Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) has run a Widening Participation and Civic Engagement initiative since 2012, bringing primary and secondary school going children from black communities to University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus for a half-day program. The event runs creative thinking and teamwork challenge for Y2-Y6, career sessions for Y7-Y13, campus tours, and a business presentation by a successful young Black entrepreneur building a business enterprise.

And while current circumstances have stopped us being able to run physical events, this year’s program was able to be delivered online, with the help of a number of NUBS staff members. Ran by Dr Judy Muthuri, “What’s in a Name?” Celebrating Black Identity and Culture took place on Monday 19 October, with local school-going children from black communities taking part to celebrate diversity and help deepen their understanding of identity and culture.

The central element of the event was “the Name Challenge. The challenge was designed to enable young people of black heritage to explore the origin and meaning of their name, allowing them to ‘own’ and take joy and pride in its meaning.  In the African and African Caribbean cultural heritage, African names hold spiritual, physical and psychological significance. Names are an important part of our identity and a symbol of belonging, and through sharing their name stories, the students could engender a sense joy and pride in their identity.

Everyone who took part was awarded a certificate for being NUBS first Young Diversity and Inclusion Champions, and they presented their name challenge projects to the judging panel. One participant, Kimathi Muthomi Brown, a Year 5 pupil at Mornington Primary School in Nuthall, wrote a poem about the origins his name.

I am an African child
My parents named me Kimathi
A name from the Ameru tribe in Kenya
I am born after my maternal grandfather
A man of great power!

Strong, brave, wealthy and generous
Works hard for his riches
And never gives up
That’s what Kimathi means!

Dedan Kimathi is the man that I was named after
He is Kenya’s hero
A freedom fighter
He fought against the British colonialists
For not just land but freedom!

Kimathi gives me many hopes and dreams
For me to become an engineer
And own a successful business
To use my skills to make the world a better place
I am a proud boychild of Kenyan and Jamaican heritage!

By Kimathi Muthomi Brown
Year 5    Mornington Primary School


Another participant, Adele Githae, drew a visual representation of the story of her name (pictured).

“Adele has really felt inspired”, said her father Dr Francis Githae. “She now wants to attend the University of Nottingham in the future. I like it when they become aspirational!”

“Listening to the name stories presented in very creative ways by the youngsters was a profound moment for me”, said Dr Judy Muthuri. “The discussions about what they had learnt and what their names taught them about their identities reaffirmed the importance of this challenge.  We have a responsibility to nurture our future leaders and to mould them early to become true diversity and inclusion champions!”

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