Black History Month takes place annually in October, and is a month-long event dedicated to recognising the contribution of those in the UK with African or Caribbean heritage. It also aims to celebrate the achievements of Black and Brown people throughout history.

The aims of Black History Month are to:

  • promote knowledge and understanding of Black History and culture, both nationally and in Portsmouth
  • acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by Black and Brown people to the cultural and economic development of the UK

The theme this year is ‘Time for change: action not words‘.

How to get involved in Black History Month in Portsmouth

We’ll be celebrating Black History Month on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout October, so get involved – like, comment, share and show your support for Black History Month 2022.

Why not share your story or the stories of those who have inspired you. What challenges have they faced and overcome?

If you’re posting online, use the hashtags #BlackHistoryMonth and #BHMPortsmouth to join in the conversations around Black History Month.


Check out Black History Month collections in Central and North End branches, where the books on display celebrate Black culture, writers and celebrities, people who have made a difference, and those who have impacted Black rights. This collection is also available online through the digital library collection, which also includes eBooks and eAudio books to borrow.

This October, the libraries’ book club will be reading The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon, this month’s ‘book of the month’ about the immigrant life in London in the 1950s.

To make this book accessible for all, the eAudio and eBook versions have unlimited downloads throughout Black History Month.

Freegal, the library’s digital music service, also has a Black History Month playlist for streaming.

Follow the libraries on FacebookTwitter and Instagram on as they share activities throughout the month.

Portsmouth Museum & Art Gallery

From Wednesday 26 October, museum visitors will once again be able to access the Portsmouth Football Club (FC) display on the second floor. To celebrate Black History Month, the display features Lindy Delapenha, the first Jamaican to play British League football as part of Portsmouth FC. During his time at Portsmouth FC between 1948 and 1950, Delapenha helped the club become champions of England.

Where: Second floor, Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery, Museum Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2LJ

A poster highlighting other notable Black individuals from Portsmouth will also be available. The posters are part of Portsmouth Black History Project’s campaign that will launch at a later date.

The display was closed since the start of the pandemic to maintain safety measures, but it has now been refreshed with the support of Pompey History Society.

Portsmouth Film Society

Portsmouth Film Society will be hosting a month’s worth of enlightening and prominent Black films at their Southsea Branch. Ticket prices are between £4-6 and are available to buy online.

For details of the showings and to book, visit

Foster Portsmouth

Can you open your heart to Portsmouth’s vulnerable children and young people?

Black and ethnic minorities are overrepresented in care. Studies show a child’s best interests are to be cared for by a foster family which shares as many aspects of their culture, religion and ethnic origin as possible.

Foster Portsmouth is marking Black History Month by recognising the vital contribution of all our existing foster carers from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic community.

We also need more foster carers come from diverse backgrounds. Foster Portsmouth recognises the importance of a child or young person’s identity and “promise to help them with connecting to their heritage and history” by working in close partnership with our foster carers.

To enquire about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, call 023 9283 4071 or email

Visit Foster Portsmouth website (

Community Inclusion Grant

Voluntary and community groups can bid for up to £1,000 towards their project which aims to make Portsmouth a fairer and more inclusive place. Projects could be about:

  • making facilities more accessible
  • attracting a wider group of people
  • highlighting unique aspects of a group or community
  • providing support to disadvantaged groups of people

Launched at the start of National Inclusion Week (26 September 2022) and running throughout Black History Month, the scheme is open to applications until 11.59pm on 30 October 2022.

For more information, visit the Community Inclusion Grant webpage.

Portsmouth's Black and Brown stories

Read a selection of stories from members of the black and brown community who live or work in Portsmouth.

Majid Dhana, poet

Majid Dhana, a poet and Portsmouth resident, is behind the words of the powerful poem ‘Illuminated Voices’ which was part of an anti-discrimination film produced by Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth FC and Pompey in the Community.

View and share the anti-discrimination film

Originally from Zimbabwe, Majid discusses his inspiration and own experiences in this video, and how we can create a more inclusive city and nation.

“I was inspired to write this poem by my own experiences but also the experiences of other people in the city. Portsmouth is a wonderful place to live, it is welcoming and diverse but occasionally people are intolerant. We can support each other by illuminating the voices of love and tolerance which will drown out the haters. We are on the same team, together we will win.”


Rutendo Ditima, social worker (children and families)

Rutendo Ditima

“I am proud to be Zimbabwean, I am proud to be black, and I am proud to be a social worker.”

How important is it to have a diverse workforce when supporting local residents?

A diverse workforce shows me that we understand human value, it means something to us, and we are collectively willing to fight for it. Diversity even at its simplest baseline level should be able to answer these three questions: Are we all seen? Are we all heard? Are we allowed to belong? If I am seen, then I am heard, and if I am heard then I’ve been allowed to belong. A space has been created for me to thrive.

What stand out moment in your career so far makes you proud to be a social worker?

I am passionate about people feeling valued, respected, loved and empowered which being a Social Worker creates opportunities for. The most memorable experiences in my job are the conversations and interventions that have supported in upholding this. The most recent example is a conversation I had with a  young person which highlights that diversity plays a key role in the support we offer to the families we work with. It is my heritage and my understanding of racial identity, and its challenges that is making room for a young person of dual heritage to better engage with a support plan being offered to increase her school attendance. Race was not the only barrier to her attending school, but an active understanding into her experience of education, and the role that race played could have been the opening used to empower her and disarm the other barriers. Maybe if previous support plans had ‘seen’ her experience, heard her experience then she could have been better supported in creating a pathway that allowed her to belong in that educational setting.


Lucky Haque, committee member of Chat over Chai, Portsmouth

Lucky is an active Committee Member of the voluntary group Chat over Chai to provide support to the BAME community in Portsmouth. The group is open to those aged over 18 and meets weekly at Havelock Community Centre in Fawcett Road to come and meet others in the community and learn useful tips.

Visit the Chat over Chai website

What are some of your recent achievements that you’re most proud of that you’d like to share?

Chat over Chai is a voluntary group, and my parents were the first two members. It was originally for over 50s, but we’ve expanded the group to adults aged 18 and over. We launched the monthly diabetes workshop in August and the lunch club launched in September 2021 (in addition to our weekly group). Members of the BAME community over age 25 are particularly at risk of diabetes so we set out to raise awareness about the disease.  At the sessions, some are being trained as community champions, others are being educated on how to manage their condition, looking out for the signs of diabetes and where to find support. We’ve also worked with BHLive to check the blood pressure of members and encourage them to become more active. Staff who ran the asymptomatic testing site also visited our group to show them how to use the lateral flow tests properly. We’ve had a podiatrist to help people who may suffer with their feet because of diabetes. And I’ve put together a glossary of the medical words associated with diabetes so members of the community can understand the terminology when speaking with a health care professional.

As an active member of the group, I listen to our members about their interests, concerns and priorities. It’s about empowering people with knowledge and how to look after themselves, but in a fun way. Simply, it’s an engaging resource hub.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a member of the BAME community person in Portsmouth/UK and how have you overcome it?

The biggest challenge has been with accessing support, knowing what services are available and having the confidence to approach various agencies. We were awarded a grant by NHS Solent to launch our diabetes workshop and continue this important work for the community.

Community cohesion is needed to ensure that isolated members of the BAME community are included in mainstream activities and opportunities.

The other challenge that I have is balancing family life with commitments around Chat over Chai. It’s challenging in finding the time as I have a neurodiverse young child.

But there is a lot of love in the community and there are visible positive impacts on people’s lives that keeps me motivated.

Who is your inspiration or role model?

Michelle Obama is an inspiration because she has done so much work with young girls and education, and empowering females. More locally, Marshada Choudhury and Rowshonara Reza are also an inspiration because of how supportive they are and how they manage home, work, and family life.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

It’s amazing and a very important opportunity for people to learn the history and contribution of Black and Brown people.

What would you say to your younger self, knowing what you’ve achieved now?

I would say put yourself first. Education is so important. Travel as much as you can whilst you can.

Leah Mkwananzi, social worker (adults)

Leah Mkwananzi is a registered social worker working in the Adult Care and Support Team. Currently, she is Acting Assistant Team Manager for the Duty team, and responsible for the Front Door of any adults who may feel that they have care and support needs. Leah was nominated by her colleagues to feature in the Black History Month – Portsmouth stories line-up for her outstanding achievements in her profession.

Tell us about your journey as a social worker.

I moved to Portsmouth in 2004 and I started my journey with adult social care in Portsmouth City Council in an admin role with different teams/services. I enjoyed working and interacting with service users at the day centre and Shared Lives team. I was really interested in the social work role and my supervisor then encouraged me to apply for the secondment opportunity that had arisen.

In 2011, I applied to be sponsored in my social work degree, however, I was not successful. Nevertheless, I was happy and proud that the panel saw potential in me as I was offered a different course and encouraged to get a front-facing role that would allow me to pick up some elements of the social work role. Once I had gained the relevant knowledge and experience, I applied for Adult Social Care to sponsor and put me on a social worker degree course – and was successful.

What stand out moment in your career so far makes you proud?

10 years after starting on my journey in social care, having been a student social worker, ASYE, HG Social Worker, I am now an Assistant Team Manager. I am really proud of my achievement and to be a black social worker in a profession which is highly regarded.

From a personal view, I am also proud that my journey has inspired my children that they can be anything that want to be: they are in control and can do it.

I hope that anyone reading my story is inspired that they can aspire to be anything that they want to be.


Yvette Nhamo, social worker (children)

Can you talk about your role at Portsmouth City Council and what inspires you to support children, young people and families?

I am currently working in the adoption pod as a social worker in children’s social care. In this role, I am working to ensure safe and positive outcomes are achieved for the children I work with. I am new to this role as part of my professional development.

As a member of the BAME community, my personal childhood experiences have been different. It is fulfilling when families access services that can support them to make positive changes in their lives. These experiences motivate me to support them on that journey.

How important is it to have a diverse workforce when supporting people?

I think it is important as it means that communities have professionals that can relate to them culturally. It also important that parents and carers and their families are supported to understand different cultural practices that are considered unacceptable.

By supporting families this way, it sets an example for young children to develop aspirations just by seeing people of colour working in these jobs.

Could you share a special moment in your career so far that makes you proud to be a social worker?

I have recently worked with a family whose experiences of social workers had not been positive. This challenged my own personal values as they mirrored my own experiences of growing up in Africa.

Before I worked with the family, their engagement with social workers was reported to be sporadic. I managed to engage with them by allowing them to express their concerns and encouraged them to recognise the concerns of other services.

Once we had established a positive working relationship, the family began to develop their professional support network, and the relationships between each other.