Campus Reporters

One Heritage: Providing awareness of both the history and current realities of being of African heritage

Whilst celebrating and acknowledging the different cultures that exist on campus, it is equally important to educate students on the reality of being of African heritage.

Within the university community diversity and inclusion is something that we continuously strive for. One Heritage is a student-led society and organisation currently best known for their event ‘The Space’, which is a discussion/debate held on campus, regarding issues of concern/interest in the African and Caribbean community.

Along with wanting to educate and facilitate students about underappreciated areas of African History, the organisation also aims to commemorate and celebrate African and Caribbean historical figures. I spoke to the Co-President, Tolu (who works alongside Habeeb) and the Events Co-ordinator, Tochi to tell me more about the work that One Heritage have been doing.

What is One Heritage and how did you start?

“One Heritage is a society and organisation to help bring awareness to the history of people from the diaspora”

Tolu: One Heritage is a society and organisation to help bring awareness to the history of black and all people with African heritage; to talk about contemporary issues and just learn about things that would not otherwise be in our curriculum and bringing people together to network and get to know people in your community.

What prompted you to start this network at UoN?

“We are about black people but not just for black people and all people with African heritage”

Tochi: As students it’s good to do student-led things, it’s easier to branch out starting as a university society.

Tolu: We are about black people, but not just for black people and all people with African heritage. However, we create a network of black people at the university because it can get quite lonely sometimes because you might not have as many chances to meet people from your community. So, I think we fit in in the sense that we focus more on the educational side of learning about our history. Obviously, we will have some socials, but we want to focus on education and learning about the contemporary things to do with African and Caribbean history but also all students being able to come in and educate themselves.

Students debating at ‘The Space’ event

How do you think the university can improve diversity and inclusion on campus?

“Black people aren’t monolith, we represent more that just a certain idea/stereotype”

Tochi: One of the reasons why we created this society was so that we can have more than one society that represents black people, that way we can kind of spread the work. That way students feel like they can go to us and ACS and see a diverse view, because black people aren’t monolith, we represent more than just a certain idea/stereotype. Allowing us (One Heritage) to be affiliated with the university is a step in the right direction, we can help in terms of diversity and variety rather than just depending on one group of people.

What do you have planned for the future of ‘One Heritage’?

“We have partnerships with community organisations in Nottingham… so we look forward to expanding our message of equality and diversity as far as we can”

Tolu: We are a society and an organisation, we don’t want autonomy over us, we want to go outside of campus and speak to the Nottingham population and improve communities there. Creating a further network beyond university, we do need people in the industry, in politics, in media to help us. So, that it’s not just about having a university presence.

Tochi: We’ve made quite a lot of strides towards that a lot of our committee members are talking to student leaders in other universities. We have partnerships with community organisations in Nottingham, so the future looks very very bright for us and we look forward to expanding our message of equality and diversity across as far as we can.

Marvel Kalu

To keep up to date with One Heritage like their Facebook page, follow on Twitter and check out their website.

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Images courtesy of One Heritage.

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