Month packed with history

IPSWICH: From reggae to drums and gospel choirs to workshops, there’s a host of events lined up over the coming few weeks as part of Suffolk African History Month.

The annual festivities, which kick off today, run throughout October and into November, featuring a packed programme which promises to provide a huge interest for people in and around the county.

Organised by the Nia Project, based in Fore Street, its theme this year is “Transformation – celebrating the declaration for change.”

Its director, Del White, has promised an exciting and cultural mix of events and said: “We hope that the month will add a richer understanding and awareness of our diverse community.”

Suffolk offers a vast array of fantastic festivals and fairs and African History Month embeds itself as an essential contribution to the cultural diversity.

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The programme reflects and celebrates the lives of a few inspirational people who have helped to transform the world, including Nelson Mandela, who was released from his South African prison 20 years ago, Madame C J Walker, who opened for business in 1910 to become America’s first female millionaire entrepreneur, and inventor Elijah McCoy, whose name has been immortalised as a byword for excellence “the real McCoy”.

Today, the launch is being held at the Novotel, in Greyfriars Road, Ipswich, at 7pm with the Nia Memorial Lecture. The guest speaker is UK civil rights pioneer Linda Bellos, pictured.

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In 2009 she was elected chair of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners and prior to that was awarded an OBE for services to diversity in 2007. The week is rounded off on Friday with:

n African History Month Breaking Break, a breakfast gathering at Suffolk New College, in Rope Walk, at 8am

n An exhibition at the Ipswich Record Office, in Gatacre Road, Ipswich, between 9am and 5pm

n Moving Here, another exhibition which looks at examples of well known people have moved to Suffolk, at Lowesoft Record Office, in Clapham Road, Lowestoft, at 10am

n Karibu, Nigeria’s 50th Independence Day Celebration, at Endeavour House, in Russell Road, Ipswich, from 10am to 2.30pm followed by the Independence Night to Remember, at the Manor Ballroom, in St Margaret’s Green, Ipswich

n Palm Wine and Stout, a play with music and dance at the Sir John Mills Theatre, in Gatacre Road, Ipswich, at 7.30pm.

For full details of the programme for the weeks ahead, see Friday’s Evening Star.

n Are you planning to take part in Suffolk African History Month? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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