On Friday 24th September, we were delighted to welcome Natty Mark Samuels, poet and founder of the African School and Library in Blackbird Leys, to visit the Rumble Museum at Cheney to launch our Black History month. In the month of October, we will be running a series of talks, events and exhibitions celebrating and exploring aspects of Black History, details of which will appear on our website and in the school newsletters.
Natty first delivered an assembly to our Year Twelves, where he introduced students to the flourishing centre of research, scholarship and science at Timbuktu. Timbuktu was home to the oldest university in subsaharan Africa, where advances in a range of scientific fields were made. Natty did some interactive cartography to show where Timbuktu was in Africa, and how trade in salt and other goods took place across Africa at the time. He did a group reading of one of his poems about Ahmad Baba who was a well-known philosopher and researcher during the Golden Age at the university.
It was a fascinating assembly which introduced students to this fascinating site of learning in the medieval world in Africa.
Between 3 and 4pm, we then displayed our African artefacts outside for students and staff to explore and handle, before Natty returned for a community poetry reading at 4pm for students, staff and visitors. Natty read some of his beautiful poems written about our artefacts, and involved students in reading, chanting and even dancing, while Natty read and played a beautiful African drum.
It was a wonderful start to our Black History month, which was greatly enjoyed by everyone. We will be producing a booklet of Natty's poems about our artefacts, which will be made available soon.
We are very grateful to the National Heritage Lottery Fund for their grant for our projects with our African artefacts collection.