Alumni Black History month ALBERT E

Meet: Albert Akhidenor

To celebrate Black History Month we asked graduate Albert - MSc Public Health UNICAF, 2021 some questions about his heritage and life in the UK since moving from Nigeria; where he worked as a dentist. He is also the founder of 'Community Oral Health Initiative' making oral health services available to vulnerable and those without access to oral health. 

Albert is now employed by USW as a digital health fellow with Ian Mathieson. He has worked closely with the Springboard +Plus – Graduate Support Team and USW Careers  since graduating which has helped him find employment here in the UK.

Celebrating black history month, what does it mean to you?

Black History Month for me serves as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the enormous contributions and achievements of blacks across different fields and areas to global development. 

I come from Nigeria – which is the most populous black nation in the world with a population of over 220 million people, Black History Month held no significance to me but since emigrating to the United Kingdom with my family, I have come to appreciate the significance in marking this month. In celebrating Black History Month, I see it as an opportunity to take stock of the many contributions Blacks have played and still play in all spheres of human development.

How can graduates and the wider USW family celebrate and support black history month?

I would give kudos to the University of South Wales family for recognizing the need to celebrate Black History Month. Graduates and the wider USW family can celebrate Black History Month by looking at the contributions that Blacks have made in the different faculties, colleges and service areas of the University and put more concerted efforts at showcasing them within and beyond the university so that they are recognised and acknowledged which in its own way motivate students and staffs of African heritage and those of other ethnic minorities to work hard and be the best. 

In terms of support, it would be good for the university to have a compilation of the achievements of black staffs and graduates which would be published during the celebration and update yearly as new accomplishments are recognised. 

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What is your ethnic background and how do you celebrate it now you live in the UK?

I am from the Èsan ethnic group in Nigeria and speak Ishan language. In the UK, I celebrate Black History Month by expanding my knowledge on the impact blacks have made and are making across various spheres of human endeavour from religion to politics, education to the arts such as Bishop Wilfred Wood who was the first black Bishop of the Church of England and Diane Abbott – who was the first black female member of parliament. These and many more, I talk about to my kids on the awesome contributions they have and thereby inspire them to keep working hard. 

Are there any black public figures who have inspired you over the years?

I have been inspired by a number of black public figures over the years but some that stand are Nelson Mandela, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Pastor Enoch Adeboye - the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Photo left: Albert was a dentist in Nigeria before moving to the UK.

Can you recommend any books, films, tv, podcasts etc. that people can use to inspire and inform themselves?

There are a number of them that have inspired me but first that comes to mind is the poem “Telephone Conversation” written by the Nigerian literary giant and Nobel laureate in Literature Prof. Wole Soyinka.  

The books “Gifted Hands” and “The African Child” by Ben Carson and Camara Laye respectively. 

For films, I would recommend; Remember the Titans, Long Walk to Freedom, Gifted Hands, Tuskegee Airmen, and Coach Carter.