The Afrobean Echos is a professional online news magazine aimed at the Scottish African and Caribbean community. The website celebrates Afro-descendants achievements, expresses their concerns and showcases the positive impact they have on the Scottish society. The magazine also strives to set up a directory for businesses, places, events, organisations and charities owned by the community’s members.
Some of the most influential Afro-Caribbean personalities in Scotland have praised the communication project; here are their comments on the Afrobean Echos.
Graham Campbell is one of the two first-ever black Councillors elected to Glasgow City Council. The SNP Councillor for Springburn/Robroyston Ward 17 is also an independent Cultural and Political Activist. Anti-racism activist, fundraiser, successful community activist in housing and Organiser of BAME Communities; Graham Campbell wears many hats. The co-director of the African Caribbean Cultures Glasgow LLP is a well-known and respected Pan-Africanist and had been the director of the former African Caribbean Network in Glasgow.
Mr Campbell admitted that there is a lot of great stuff Africans and Caribbeans do that is not being reported. On the importance of communicating, he said: “It is important to control the positive messages we send out, and the other way to do that is through our media.”
To him, the Afrobean Echos should play two significant roles: “link each other and link ourselves to the wider Scottish community.”
The councillor reveals that: “we are one of those communities that don’t give their views as much as other people do. We are not as engaged and involved in the processes; we need to get more involved.
“The community and the citizens should empower themselves. They should know how the structure works,” he said. He consequently encourages the African and Caribbean community to be active in the Scottish society by participating in events such as community consultations and area regeneration groups. As he said:” if we are not in the room when decisions are being made about us, they will be made without us, and that will negatively impact upon us.”
The councillor also promises to release information himself as the council is constantly asking communities’ views on things and we need to be aware of that.
The SNP councillor believes having a media will help to change others’ perceptions on us as it is the only way to showcase our contribution to the society.
Mr Campbell suggested that we should keep our culture while embracing and adopting the local culture as being interested in the system in which we live will improve our living conditions and those of our children.
Chief Amu is an intellectual whose artistic skill doesn’t need to be proved any longer. The founder of the African Art Centre is not only the guarantor of the African traditional music and instrument but he also “offers practice-based creative arts workshops in schools, youth centres and community settings” around the UK. The qualified teacher is one of the African’s deans in Scotland; he is a storyteller and a drum specialist to name a few.
Another critical thing to mention about Mr Amu is that he is a media entrepreneur and to him, communication is the key. Thus, the Afrobean Echos “will be a good asset for the community as the African and Caribbean community needs to have a voice, a credible voice,” he said.
The storyteller sees in this new project, a good chance to learn on the job and a way to capture our voice as a community. “Our voices should be presented in a professional manner equal to other professionals of other races,” he confessed. The distinguished artist stressed that having an African platform where to get our voices out is not “a racist thing, but it will be better to see us from our own eyes and to report from our own eyes. With a voice that is similar to ours. The vocabulary, the vision and the patriotism will be the same as we are all African scots,” he said.
The all-rounder artist promises to “be there as a human resource from time to time, hoping to help make this venture a successful one and leave a legacy behind for our children to carry on,” he added. Speaking about legacy, monetary provisions are often the first to come to mind. However, non-material heritage is also capital. On that point, he invited us to “be prepared to pass our skills on.” Mr Amu was emphasising the importance of communication and transmission of knowledge to our children.
Beltus Etchu is the founder and chief executive officer of NSI (Next Step Initiative). He is also the “co-founder, Fellow, and Director of the Centre for African Policy Development and Research Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.” He has the responsibility of setting the strategic vision and direction of the organisation. He is an all-rounder entrepreneur and the projects he successfully achieved include the Annual African Achievements Award Scotland, the Annual Scottish African Business Conference, the African Housing Forum Scotland and the African Climate Change Centre in Scotland.
Mr Etchu is also a media entrepreneur and is delighted the Afrobean Echos “is bridging the gap of the African community not getting enough information,” he said.
To achieve our goal, the member of the African and Caribbean Environmental Network advised us not to work in isolation but in partnership. “ We from the African community, why we can’t grow is because we work in isolation and we think that we can be an island, it is not possible. People are too protective, scared and we need to move away from that mindset. We need to learn to work together,” he said.
On the importance of getting to know what is going on around us, he said:“We have come to an environment where things are different, so we need to open up.” It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep our culture, but the capacity building organisation leader emphasises that:“We should preserve our culture. However, we need to learn more about what is happening out there. Opportunity is not between us; it’s outside us. People don’t know what is outside.”
Mr Etchu concluded that as Africans and Caribbeans, we need to be objective in our thinking. “We have to learn to support good initiatives, unlike our feelings. I might not like you, but if you do appreciable things, I should support you,” he said.
Ronier Deumeni is the founder of African Challenge Scotland (ACS). He is also responsible for developing and leading many initiatives and innovative projects that are supporting the integration of the African community and other ethnic minorities into the wider North Glasgow Community. Mr Deumeni is one of the African community’s representatives on equalities issues and, in this capacity, has attended and contributed to several meetings with the Scottish Government at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. He is very implied in the community life, and his talent of great events organiser is no longer to be demonstrated.
The Founder of the ACS welcomes the Afrobean media project and promises to expose it through his network and other African organisations as communication is the key. Mr Deumeni whose activities also help to build people’s confidence and develop their skills continued on a motivational note:” No matter what you do in your life, think about your concept and develop it. Never be scared of your initiative. You might fail, but the most important thing is to stand up and never discourage,” he says.
The African and Caribbean Echos in Scotland is an informative instrument to the community. Its primary purpose is to contribute modestly to solving a communication problem as the governments and corporations can’t be relied upon to sort out all situations; instead, we must look to ourselves. Therefore, the African community must be in all sectors of the society, and Mr Deumeni acknowledges this fact as he says: “in the community, we all have different talents and let’s exploit them. So, we shouldn’t all do the same thing, let try other things in which we feel more comfortable and helpful.”
He ended with another motivational quote:” Believe in what you do because when you trust in yourself, you can achieve great things.”