Black History courses brought me back to Mosaic

I am old enough to remember when Mosaic Clubhouse was at Atkins Road, where I attended regularly after several months in hospital in 2000.  It certainly helped me to feel that I was a person of value as I integrated back into society.  Eventually I began volunteering in my local community and decided to opt out of the two-bus journey each way to Atkins Road.
Last year I became involved with a SLaM project that had sessions back at Mosaic, by now relocated to Effra Road just beside the bus stop for the #3 from Kennington!  Walking back into Clubhouse I remembered so well the vibrant atmosphere of kindred spirits pulling together in a friendly, non-judgemental way.  I felt back at home!  Amazingly I also bumped into Sheila who probably doesn’t remember me but we used to share a bus back as far as the Town Hall at the end of each day.

Nosing around Clubhouse, I saw posters about the many activities taking place and was particularly drawn to a course about Black History in Britain, something I knew very little about although I’ve always been interested in culture and history – so I decided to give it a go. 
 
Our tutor, Ken, took us back to Roman times when, we learned, one emperor was a ‘Berber’ who lived for a time and died in Britain.  With each week we raced through the centuries.  It was fascinating to be able to put what little history I did know into context;  however, as we moved forward into living memory it was particularly interesting to hear fellow students discuss how things we were learning about had impacted on their own lives. 

As the course was coming to an end we asked if future Black History courses might be possible and what they might be about.  By consensus, we agreed that we’d love to look at Pre-Colonial Africa so Ken set it up for us at the beginning of this year.

 

"Walking back into Clubhouse I remembered so well the vibrant atmosphere of kindred spirits pulling together in a friendly, non-judgemental way.  I felt back at home! "

We learned about different aspects of this huge continent:  the diverse regions, peoples, cultures and histories, moving through thousands of years at a cracking pace.  At the end of each class I was left feeling that that day’s lesson had the making of a course on its own; a Taster for possible future courses and outside learning.
With the new President in the United States, we agreed to turn our attention across the Atlantic for this current term.  Again it has been a rollercoaster ride over four hundred years, a relatively short span of history; however, again, I have often asked myself: how were we not taught this as part of my own education?  He who writes history, eh? 
 
As the course draws to an end with President Barack Obama, we are thinking of today’s world and its future and, more personally, wondering if we can continue our studies when the academic year begins again in September.   As I write, that’s not yet been decided but it is hoped that we might return to Africa, looking at the Post-Colonial era, with independence movements and the strategic players including, of course, Nelson MANDELA! 
Cathy.

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