Third year law student Wanipa Ndhlovu takes the lead for Black History Month at Cambridge with open discussions and a new film about life at the University
It’s one week into the new academic year at Trinity College Cambridge and the new students share their views, experiences and outlook. Cambridge University prides itself on the increased intake of Black students which has doubled compared to last year. Although accounting for just 4% of the total student population it has made strides in breaking down centuries old barriers.
Wanipa Ndhlovu who was President of Cambridge’s African Caribbean Society (ACS) last year along with BME Officer of Trinity College Student’s Union Serena Cole felt compelled, by the shocking events of the long lockdown summer with the murder of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter response, to gather some new students and portray an honest perspective of some of the country’s brightest young minds.
Deeply moving, each of them articulates and basically sums up the feelings of many people across the nation whether they are students or not and inspires one to reflect with positive and honest criticism with an aim to effect change, sooner rather than later.
Launched on 28th October the exhibition charts their experiences of being Black at Cambridge in a compelling series of portraits and a revealing short film.
The first of its kind at Trinity, Black History Month features portraits of students of African and/or Caribbean heritage created by award-wining photographer Henry Kamara, with additional photographs by Aubrey Wade and Yiannis Katsaris.
Alumna and filmmaker Sonum Sumaria has captured the perspectives, from the personal to the global, of new arrivals and students in later years. First year student Sinmi Tokede says:
‘Many beautiful things fell in place for me to get where I am today’
In the introduction to the exhibition the students write:
The word succession connotes the handing over of a title or the passing down of a tradition. A couple of years ago, Trinity had only six black undergraduates in total; this year there are more than a dozen. This might seem like a modest increase, but it is significant to those of us who understand the power of representation and community. One reason for this increase is simple: prospective students can see black students in their second and third years here, thus inspiring a new generation of applicants.
Succession signifies us sharing our experiences and handing over our voices to the new Black students, in the hope that they will flourish and inspire more students next year.
Succession: View An Exhibition of Portraits