“It’s not the reports that are going to change the world; it’s taking a plate of food to your neighbour and listening to music together.”

In this short article Priscilla Addey-Blankson, Race Council Cymru, Windrush Cymru Elders, Project Officer gives an overview of the collaborative work of Race Council Cymru and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to connect communities through the arts.

Hi I am Priscilla, I work for Race Council Cymru and hold the role of Windrush Cymru Elders Project Officer. I am originally from Ghana and I have dedicated the past year and a half to working closely with the Windrush Elders community.

In my capacity, I act as the primary point of contact for the RCC, Windrush Elders and their associated projects. My responsibilities extend to planning and coordinating various events and activities for the Elders, actively collaborating with them to develop, promote, and implement enriching projects. I am deeply committed to supporting and enhancing the well-being of the Windrush Elders community through my role.

The Race Council Windrush, Cymru Elders meet every Thursday at RWCMD, the group often have speakers and share information about activity in their community. The group recently had a visit from Anna Mudeka who played the role of of legendary South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba in Mama Afrika which was performed in College recently.

Anna shared the compelling narrative of her life journey, delving into her musical pursuits and cultural heritage. She captivated everyone with the introduction of the Nyunga-nyunga, a traditional musical instrument, explaining its details and how it works, gladly fielding the Elders’ inquiries.

Ms. Mudeka shared her personal challenges, drawing inspiration from her icon, Miriam Makeba, and emphasizing the profound impact Makeba had on her own musical journey.

The session unfolded with Anna Mudeka’s enchanting Swahili music, actively involving the elders in the Hakuna Matata song. The interactive nature of the performance allowed The Elders to proudly shout out their countries of origin.

In a delightful moment, Anna Mudeka introduced The Elders to the distinctive click sounds used in her songs, offering a brief tutorial and incorporating it into her performance. The session further featured a recitation of poignant poems by Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba, concluding with the lively Dance Pata-Pata music that had The Elders joyfully swaying.

Anna said of the activity “I really enjoyed meeting The Elders and I knew straight away that this would be a learning experience for me too. I loved listening to them talk about their love for Wales. It was a joy to share some time with them all.”

Anna Mudeka centre and the RCC, Windrush Cymru Elders

The entire experience evoked nostalgic reflections, with Elders sharing amusing childhood stories. A particularly resonant quote emerged from the session: “It’s not the reports that are going to change the world; it’s taking a plate of food to your neighbour and listening to music together.”

You can find out more about the Race Council Cymru, Windrush Cymru Elders here

You can find out more about the work of the Communities Engagement Partner at RWCMD here

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