Brilliant, Black and Welsh: A celebration of 100 African Caribbean and African Welsh people
Black History Month Wales begins this October…
And it has given us the perfect excuse to celebrate the fact that Wales is full of brilliant, black Welsh people.
To honour this annual event-packed month and this year’s 70th anniversary of the Windrush arrivals, we are featuring 100 brilliant African Caribbean and African Welsh people who have helped shaped our nation.
Each has been chosen by the Black History Wales-wide network of members as supported by the Black History Committee to mark its Black History Month theme – “Icons of Black Wales”.
Each has been chosen for their extraordinary commitment and contributions to public life, science, health, education, the arts, sport, business and equal rights.
Each is an inspiration, has achieved something remarkable and has made a real difference.
The list appears here in no particular order, and we know it could have contained hundreds of other important figures.
We’d love to see your own nominations at the comments in the bottom.
And we hope they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us.
1. Ashley Williams
He was Wales’ football captain at the never-to-be-forgotten fairytale that was the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in France, where he became one of the faces of Welsh soccer.
Williams had a low key beginning to his career with Hednesford Town and Stockport County, before John Toshack took a chance with him for Wales and he was signed by Swansea City.
Toshack had spotted Williams’ leadership skills early on and tipped him to go on to great things.
Williams captained Swansea in the Premier League before earning a big money move to Everton.
His deeds with club and country – captain as the Swans and Wales had the greatest days in their history – have guaranteed him folklore status in the Welsh game.
2. Mercy Ngulube
Born with HIV this 20-year-old from Cardiff has used her experiences of stigma to pursue equality for young people living with the virus.
She is the former chair of the Children’s HIV Association Youth Committee and is a tireless campaigner fighting for change.
Mercy, who is studying English Literature at Cardiff University, has been a spokesperson for young people living with HIV nationally and internationally.
In July 2016, she spoke to Prince Harry at the International HIV Conference in Durban, South Africa, about how HIV is portrayed in society and the media. In 2017, she received a Diana Legacy Award for her work from Princes William and Harry.
Mercy has gone on to do a TEDx Talk and was also recently invited to the House of Lords in to present her experiences and expertise to help shape future policy.
She was also shortlisted for the St David Young Person award.
3. Reuel Elijah
This young rising star from Cardiff has performed with Madonna and supported Stormzy among his credits.
He is part of world famous street dance crew Jukebox, crowned third best dance group in the world at the Hip-hop Internationals in Las Vegas as well as runners up in Sky 1’s Got to Dance finals in 2010.
Reuel has performed at events from Radio Cardiff’s Music Awards to the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend in Exeter. At that event he was on the Introducing Stage making him the first black R&B/Hip-hop artist to ever do so from Wales.
He also produces, choreographs and directs music videos.
His early cover of Drake’s Girls Love Beyonce, picked up thousands of views on YouTube. Other artists he has performed with include, Neyo, JLS and Brandy.
4. Dr Ahmed Ali
An award-winning research chemist based at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, he specialises in the chemistry of plants indigenous to the Horn of Africa.
His scientific discoveries range from new garden pest repellents to anti-cancer agents both based on Somali myrrh extracts and an anti-inflammatory agent based on Somali frankincense.
Born and raised in Newport, Dr Ali set up a herbal biotech company in Cardiff to continue creating new innovations and aims to create a manufacturing base for his novel innovative botanical extracts in Wales.
5. Vivienne A.A.A White MBE aka “Chalky White”
Cardiff’s first black dentist and first black bus driver “Chalky White” faced discrimination because of his race.
He went on to become the first black youth worker in Wales.
Chalky also carried out years of voluntary work and was head of Race Equality Council Wales receiving an MBE for his work in communities.
Butetown Youth Centre in Loudoun Square was more popularly known as “Chalkies” because of its dynamic youth club leader.
6. Florence “Rosie” Parris
Rosie took on the British justice system when her brother Tony, and two others, became victims of one of the UK’s most infamous miscarriages of justice when they were wrongly found guilty of the murder of Lynette White and jailed in 1989.
There was no forensic evidence linking them to the crime in Butetown the previous year.
Rosie campaigned tirelessly for their freedom, marching in London and Cardiff and speaking to the media.
The campaign became a cause celebre with supporters including American civil rights leader Al Shipton who later became an adviser to President Barack Obama.
The “Cardiff three” had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1992 after an appeal found police had “bullied” a confession from one of the men. Ten years later DNA identified the real killer Jeffrey Gafoor, who was jailed.
Rosie was also a community advocate and volunteered in Butetown for many good causes and worked at Mount Stuart Primary as a midday supervisor.
7. Eid Ali Ahmed
Former freedom fighter and international banker Eid Ali Ahmed, 68, helped found the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) after arriving here as a refugee in 1987. He was the deputy chief executive when he left the WRC in 2011.
As one of the founders of the Somali Liberation Movement, which ousted dictator Siad Barre in 1991, he was forced to flee his home country. From Wales he has campaigned for the last two decades to have the self-declared and peaceful country of Somaliland internationally recognised as apart from Somalia.
Eid is former chairman and active member of Somaliland Societies in Europe and UK which works to raise awareness of the issue among politicians and public. He regularly visits Somaliland to meet members of the government, civil society, business people and academics for the promotion and development of Somaliland.
8. Colin Charvis
The back-rower was the first black man to captain the Welsh rugby union team when coach Steve Hansen appointed him skipper for the 2002 summer tour to South Africa.
He scored 22 tries for his country, making him the leading try scorer among all Welsh forwards.
Born in Sutton Coldfield, Charvis began his professional career with London Welsh in 1995 before moving to Swansea in the same year.
Stand-out performances for Swansea lead to a first international cap for Wales against Australia in 1996 and he went on to win 94 caps.
Having featured in the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Charvis captained Wales in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.
His club career with Swansea lasted until 2003 when changes in the Welsh club structure saw him without a contract. He moved briefly to Tarbes in France and then to the Newcastle Falcons in England whom he also captained.
Charvis was appointed to a player/coach role at Newport Gwent Dragons in July 2008. However, due to injuries among the playing squad Charvis returned to the team and due to his excellent form he played a number of matches during the 2008-09 season.
9. Hilary Brown
As the manager of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Butetown Hilary advised families of two black young men who were attacked by skinheads in Cardiff in 1997.
Hilary’s work and support of their families led to South Wales Police to improve their procedures in identifying and addressing its failings to victims of race hate crime.
As a direct result of the work that Hilary did with the criminal justice system in Wales, SWP introduced the UK’s first ever pioneering system to better assist victims of race and other hate crimes. The force also implemented a new training programme for all police officers as a result.
Hilary was invited by the Lord Chancellor’s department to discuss how to improve confidence in the criminal justice system and has worked with a number of Whitehall ministerial task forces as well as task forces for SWP, the Crown Prosecution Service and the MOD looking specifically at those agencies and assisting them to improve their services to BAME people.
Hilary is now CEO of Barry and London-based law firm Virgo Consultancy Services Ltd which specialises in immigration and asylum. Former Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman described Hilary as a “social entrepreneur and a one-woman force of nature”.
10. Benji Webbe
Benji Webbe from Newport is lead vocalist for reggae/nu metal band Skindred.
He had made his name with Dub War, and in 2016 they reunited.
He is also in Mass Metal with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and has featured on albums by Bullet For My Valentine and Soulfly.
In 2016, he spoke out after being attacked in the street. Despite needing stitches in his neck, he said it wouldn’t stop him going out in his hometown.
“This will not stop me from going out in Newport because it’s a great community,”he said. “People need to think about their actions when they’ve been drinking.”
11. Richard Parks
The former Welsh international flanker reinvented himself as an extreme athlete when injury ended his rugby union career.
During his professional rugby career spanning 13 years, he played for Pontypridd, Leeds, Perpignan and Newport Gwent Dragons. He won the Principality Cup with Pontypridd and The Powergen Cup with Leeds.
In 2001 Parks represented Wales Sevens in the Rugby World Cup in Argentina before winning a first senior cap on June 8, 2002, against South Africa in Bloemfontein.
A second cap arrived against Fiji in the autumn internationals and he also played against Scotland and Ireland in the run-up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, where he missed out on final selection.
After moving to the Dragons in 2007 he tore knee ligaments and after more medical problems with his shoulder, he retired from the game aged 31 in, 2009.
This led to a whole new career path as Parks made history twice with two incredible feats of endurance; a world first expedition called the 737 Challenge, where in July 2011 he became the first ever person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents and stand on all three poles (the North Pole, the South Pole and the summit of Everest) within seven months.
In January 2014 he became the first Welshman, and the fastest ever Brit to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole. He also serves his country as a Sport Wales board member.
12. Elizabeth Campbell MBE
Betty was Wales’ first black headteacher.
Born in 1934 she made history when she took her place at Mount Stuart Primaryin Butetown, Cardiff.
At the time of her death, Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty said: “Betty was a stalwart of the Butetown and Bay community for decades.
“She was fiercely independent and fiercely strong in her advocacy for local people, and fiercely passionate about the diversity and history of the amazing docks communities, which she served for so many years.”
She became known outside Wales as an important authority on education. Her contribution to the world of education was noted when later she was invited to be part of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Commission on Education.
In 2003, Campbell was awarded an MBE for services to education and community life. She was also honoured by Unison Cymru’s Black Members’ group in 2015 with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to black history and Welsh education – and award she said meant more to her than her MBE.
13. Iris de Freitas
It was the chance discovery of a postcard that uncovered the incredible story of a Welsh university’s alumni.
Iris de Freitas was born in 1896, the daughter of a merchant in British Guiana.
She registered as a student at Aberystwyth University in 1919 after a short period studying in Toronto. At Aberystwyth she studied botany, Latin and modern languages, law and jurisprudence, and lived in Alexandra Hall, the first purpose-built university hall of residence for female students in the UK.
She went on to become the first female lawyer in the Caribbean and was the first female prosecutor of a murder trial there.
Tributes published in the Guyana Chronicle after her death in May 1989 described her as “a pioneer and frontrunner of women who dared enter the exclusively male legal profession”, and someone who “blazed the trail for women lawyers”.
Once her former university became aware of her place in history, they renamed a study room after her. The Iris de Freitas Room was opened on March 8, 2016.
14. Roy Grant
Born in Jamaica in 1942, Roy lost the sight in one eye in a childhood accident. He moved to Newport as a young man and after working in the engineering industry turned to writing as therapy when he lost vision in both eyes.
Arriving in the UK as a 19-year-old apprentice he was promoted four years later to become the first black person in Newport to have a supervisory role in a precision engineering works.
Made redundant due to the decline in the manufacturing industry, Roy went on to own a taxi and mobile catering business until 1997 when a haemorrhage in his good eye caused total blindness for 11 months.
Writing as therapy led him to publish his first book When Darkness Turns to Light, is an autobiographical tale of dealing with blindness.
His second book, Patchwork Culture explores the history of Africans who escaped slavery in the Americas – known as the Maroon culture – and compares prejudice in Jamaica and Wales.
Roy has published many books under his pen name, Roy Mackpenfield and has also written plays and poems. Roy was part of the Back-a-Yard project and a member of South East Wales Racial Equality Council.
15. Rungano Nyoni
The Welsh-Zambian film director won a Bafta for Outstanding Debut earlier this year.
Rungano moved from Lusaka to Cardiff, aged eight. She studied screen acting at Central St Martins, London, but decided she wanted to go behind the camera. She’s since made award-winning short films – two were filmed in her native Zambia.
The Bafta recognised her first feature I Am Not A Witch, for which she spent a month at a witch camp in Ghana. The film is about a young girl who is accused of being a witch and given the choice of accepting being supernatural or cutting ties and being transformed into a goat that may be killed and eaten for supper.
Discussing the film, Rungano said: “That’s a choice I feel like I, as a woman, make all the time: shall I become a goat? Or shall I become a woman and live with all the injustices and difficulties that come with it?”
16. Colette Hughes
African charity campaigner Colette Hughes was a finalist with husband Mike Hughes in the 2018 St David Awards International Category for their their outstanding contribution over the last 20 years to the post-genocide recovery of Rwanda.
Colette grew up in a refugee camp in southern Uganda after being forced to leave her native Rwanda with her family at the age of eight.
They are founder members of the Rwanda/UK Goodwill Organisation (RUGO). Colette met Mike, from Swansea, when she moved to Britain to study and they married in 1977.
17. Nigel Walker
Cardiff-born Nigel Walker is a former Welsh track and field athlete and Wales international rugby union player.
He was previously the BBC Wales’ head of change and internal communications and is currently national director at the English Institute of Sport.
Nigel represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the 1984 summer Olympics in the 110m hurdles. When he failed the make the Olympic squad for the 1992 games in Barcelona he was persuaded to try rugby, following a chance meeting with Mark Ring.
He joined Cardiff and soon became a crowd favourite at the Arms Park, also forcing his way into the Welsh side.
In a six-year career he played 121 games for Cardiff scoring 78 tries and winning 17 Welsh Caps with 12 tries to his name, as well as appearing for the Barbarians.
Nigel won the British version of Gladiators, has sat on the UK Sport Board where he chaired its major events Panel.
18. Geraldine Trotman
Growing up in 1950s and 1960s Tiger Bay, Geraldine Trotman was immersed in flavours from every continent, so it was probably no surprise she became a chef.
Raised by her half Barbadian-half Welsh mother and father from St Lucia, she was as used to eating homemade Welsh cakes as rice and peas.
It was the ideal nurturing ground for the future chef and, after training at the College of Food Technology in Cardiff, Geraldine, went to Barbados in 1974, aged 22, to work.
Within six years she was food and drink manager at one of the island’s oldest, most prestigious hotels, the Ocean View.
Living on the island for 10 years, Geraldine had her three daughters there before returning to Cardiff to raise them. She has prepared Caribbean menus for venues including the Wales Millennium Centre.
19. Eric Ngalle Charles
Poet, playwright, actor and human rights campaigner Eric Ngalle Charles was born in Cameroon and has become part of the literary landscape of Wales in recent years after coming here a a refugee in 1999.
He sits on the board of directors of Literature Wales and was named as one of the “Hay 30” predicted to shape the world over the next 30 years.
Eric runs Black Entertainment Wales and his published works include the play Asylum, the Wales Cameroon anthology and Hafan Books anthologies Between a Mountain and a Sea, Soft Touch, and Nobody’s Perfect. His play My Big Mouth Brought Me Here was staged in London.
20. Enrico Stennett
Enrico Stennett was mixed race and his experience of racism in his native Jamaica and in the UK determined the course of his life as he worked to counter prejudice.
Arriving in Britain, in 1947, aged 21, the year before the SS Windrush arrived, Enrico found a culture of personal and institutional racism.
He joined the League for Coloured People, the Coloured Workers’ Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the trade union and Labour Movement and regularly spoke on issues of politics and race at Hyde Park Corner.
In 1950 Enrico, along with his first wife Margaret and friends, founded the Cosmopolitan Social Society, to cater for the well-being of black/Caribbean people living and arriving in Britain.
Two years later, he co-founded the African League and as chairman worked with activists in the liberation struggle for freedom for colonial rule. He also started the first black Newspaper The African Voice.
Enrico retired to Jamaica with second wife Mary but returned to Britain and settled in north Wales where he was active in the North Wales Race Equality Council until his death in 2011.
Enrico, a great dancer, was known as “Mr Magic Feet”. Jamaican music producer, Julian Henrique, made a film of him in that name, which is available through a website Mary Stennett and the North Wales Jamaica Society made in his memory at www.enricostennett.com
21. Rakie Ayola
She may be best known for her role as Kyla Tyson in the BBC medical drama Holby City but Cardiff-born actress Rakie Ayola, 50, has done far more than that. Working in film theatre and television she is an advocate of increased representation in the arts.
Credits include EastEnders and Doctor Who and last year she took over the role of Hermione Granger in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Born to a Sierran Leonean mother and Nigerian father she was raised by her mother’s cousins in Ely, Cardiff, and attended Windsor Clive Primary, South Glamorgan Youth Theatre and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
22. Jamie Baulch
Olympian Jamie Baulch is one of a select band of only 12 Welsh athletes to have won an Olympic athletics medal, winning silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games. He cut his athletics teeth with Newport Harriers, before moving to Cardiff AAC in 1993.
He was a member of the Welsh Commonwealth Games teams that took the 4 x 400m bronze in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and silver in Manchester in 2002.
Altogether in his career, Jamie won five senior Welsh Championship titles – including four at 200m and set nine senior Welsh records at 200m and 400m.
His fastest 400m time of 44.57 set in Lausanne in 1996 still ranks him as the seventh fastest by a British athlete and is the third fastest Welshman of all time behind UK record holder Iwan Thomas (44.36) and Cardiff club mate Tim Benjamin (44.56).
Since retiring in 2005 aged 32 Jamie has forged a career as TV presenter.
23. Martha Musonza Holman
Forced to flee her home country of Zimbabwe in 2001 after being criticised for teaching politics to students, Martha, who now lives in Abergavenny, has worked for the last 16 years to create links between Wales and Zimbabwe.
She is the founder of the Love Zimbabwe Charity and Love Zimbabwe Community Interest Company and helped set up 15 workers’ co- operatives in Zimbabwe.
Martha has reached more than 300 Welsh schools teaching Fairtrade. In 2013, Love Zimbabwe won the Glastonbury Green Traders Award and Martha has been awarded special recognition for her contribution to livelihoods and Fairtrade within the Wales Africa sector over many years by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa team.
In 2013 she won an award in the social and humanitarian category of the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Awards (EMWAA) for women who have made a significant contribution to Welsh life.
24. Steve Commander
Born in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, to a white mother and a black African father, Steve joined the army at 16 progressing to become the Regimental Sergeant Major of 7th Parachute Regiment, later becoming the Garrison Sergeant Major for Wales.
Part of the Army’s Diversity Action Team he was responsible for raising the profile of the army after it was labelled institutionally racist in the mid 1990s.
Later, working with South Wales Police for 10 years, Steve was a committee member of the Black Police Association and sat on the force’s independent ethics committee.
Now at the Department for Transport he mentors senior leaders in the civil service.
A keen rugby player he played for the army and combined services, as well as playing for clubs such as London Welsh and Boroughmuir in Scotland. Steve has won 18 Army Cup winners medals, and coached the Wales Deaf Rugby team.
25. Mutale Merrill OBE
A former Welsh Woman of the Year, Mutale Merrill received an OBE in 2008 for her work in social care and the voluntary sector.
She is the founding chief executive of Bawso, a leading third sector provider for black minority ethnic women and children facing domestic and other forms of abuse and violence.
She was the first chair of the Care Council for Wales and the first vice chair of Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board. She was a member of the first Welsh Assembly Government Commission to review the voluntary sector, and the Welsh Government’s Task and Finish Groups and its Homelessness Commission.
She is currently a member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee for the Older People Commissioner for Wales and was the first independent chair of the Board of Community Health Councils in Wales.
In 1997 Mutale was the Welsh Woman of the Year for her work in the community, and in 2006 received the Welsh Woman of the Year Val Feld Award for the individual who has made a difference to Welsh life. Also in 2006, Mutale received a Leading Wales Award, and in 2008 the Craig Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award.
26. Patti Flynn
Patti Flynn is a Cardiff singer who grew up in Sophia Street, Cardiff Bay.
Born in 1937, she was the youngest of seven. Her father, Wilmott George Young, came to Cardiff in the 1920s from Jamaica. Both he and her brother, Jocelyn, served as merchant seamen during the Second World War and lost their lives. A further brother, Arthur, served in the RAF and died when his Lancaster bomber crashed in 1944.
She went on to form a career as a jazz singer, author, radio actress and was co-founder of the Butetown Bay Jazz Festival.
She has recently spoken out on behalf of the Windrush generation calling it a “disgusting” scandal. Patti is a patron of Black History Wales.
27. Colin Jackson
An Olympian sprinter and Welsh hurdling champion, he won his first major medal, a silver, in the 110m hurdles, aged 19 at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.
Colin Jackson went on to win a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and won European and Commonwealth gold medals in 1990.
He went undefeated at the European championships for 12 years in a row and remains the 60m hurdles world record holder.
The boy from, Cardiff who had trained with Brecon Athletics Club, set a world record of 12.91 seconds to become the 1993 World Champion.
Now a television sports commentator and presenter he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2005 and came out as gay aged 50 last year.
28. Kizzy Crawford
She describes herself as a Welsh speaker with Bajan heritage.
The 20-year-old from Merthyr Tydfil is a songwriter and performer and says she wants to make her mark with “bilingual soul-folk jazz”.
She also starred as PC Emma Jones in the TV series Keeping Faith.
Her music was used to welcome the US President to the NATO Summit in Wales, and she has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru as well as live TV performances on S4C, BBC 1 and the Six Nations ad campaign.
Kizzy won the Brwydr Y Bandiau at the National Eisteddfod 2013. She also won a Welsh singer-songwriter competition receiving money to record her first EP Temporary Zone with Amy Wadge.
She says her music is inspired by her culture.
“I have a fantastic cultural heritage to be proud of – Welsh, English and Barbadian; and this is reflected in my music as well as drawing on soul, indie, folk, jazz and songs and songwriters from the ’60s and ’70s,” she said.
29. Billy Boston MBE
Regarded as one of rugby league’s greatest ever players, Boston scored a total of 571 tries in his career, making him the second-highest try scorer in rugby league history.
He is an original inductee of the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, Welsh Sports Hall of Fame, and Wigan Warriors Hall of Fame, and was awarded an MBE in 1986.
Born in Tiger Bay in 1934, this former professional rugby league footballer started his career as a rugby union player before joining Wigan in 1953. During 15 years at Wigan he scored a club-record 478 tries in his 488 appearances for the club.
He finished his career at Blackpool Borough before retiring in 1970. He also represented Great Britain in 31 Test matches, and was part of the team that won the 1960 Rugby League World Cup.
30. Uzo Iwobi OBE
The chief executive officer of Race Council Cymru and a former – and the first black African woman – commissioner on the Commission for Racial Equality UK.
Originally from Nigeria, Uzo is a qualified solicitor and barrister. Moving to Wales, she was a law lecturer at the Swansea University before joining South Wales Police in 2004 as a race and diversity officer.
Uzo was appointed to the Police National Diversity Team (PNDT) based at the Home Office to represent the Association of Chief Police Officers and the 43 police forces in the UK in a partnership including the Home Office, the Police Authority and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary tasked with developing national policies on equality and diversity.
She founded the first African Community Centre (ACC) in Wales, serving as chairperson for ACC for 15 years.
Uzo’s many awards and honours include an OBE for contributions to race relations and south Wales communities and the First Ministers’ Recognition Award for contributions to race equality and race relations in Wales. She also has a Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Association of Nigerian Communities and, an Outstanding Black Woman Achievement Award in Wales for contributions to the Black History Movement in Wales.
Uzo is a former trustee of the British Red Cross and United World Atlantic College.
31. Vaughan Gething
The Welsh Labour leader hopeful already has several high profile firsts to his name.
The Cardiff South and Penarth AM is Wales’ first and only black AM and cabinet minister and became the youngest ever and first black person to become president of the TUC in Wales aged 34 in 2008.
Two Labour council leaders and two Labour group leaders have now given their backing to Vaughan’s attempt to become Welsh Labour leader following Carwyn Jones’ announcement that he will stand down.
Born in Zambia, brought up in Dorset and educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, Vaughan was made Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services in Wales last year.
Before that the former solicitor was appointed Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty in 2013, became Deputy Minister for Health in 2014 and in 2016 was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport.
The former solicitor was chair of Right to Vote – across-party project to encourage greater participation from black minority ethnic communities in Welsh public life.
32. Cynthia Ogbonna
The first woman in the 110-year history of Cardiff Bus to be appointed managing director. She took on the role in 2012 and has worked to make public transport more accessible and sustainable and has also committed the company to be a living wage employer.
The company has more than 200 buses, 700 staff and a turnover of £34m.
A qualified chartered accountant, company secretary and mother of two, she has an MBA from Cardiff Business School and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Art.
33. Steve Robinson
Steve, from Cardiff, was dubbed “The Cinderella Man” after the fairytale story behind his world boxing title triumph in April 1993.
Robinson was working as a storeman in Debenhams at the time when he was offered a fight at just 48 hours notice against England’s John Davison for the WBO featherweight title.
Against the odds, he won a points decision and brought the world title back to Wales.
He went on to successfully defend his belt seven times, before losing to Prince Naseem Hamed in the eighth round during a 1995 contest at Cardiff Arms Park.
Robinson retired in 2002 after a loss to Steve Conway, explaining: “I don’t want to end it this way but there you are – it’s happened. I’ve seen the great heights and I’ve some fantastic memories but I’ve beaten better men than Steve Conway and I just think it’s time to call it a day.”
He has gone on to become a boxing trainer.
34. Sheikh Sa’id Hassan Ismail
Cardiff religious leader known for his community work Sheikh Sa’id Hassan Ismail founded the South Wales Islamic Centre in Butetown and was an imam at the mosque.
Born to a Welsh mother, he moved to Cardiff as a boy after his father, who was born in Yemen, was killed in service during World War Two.
Former First Minister the late Rhodri Morgan said: ”His wise counsel at times of crisis has made him a truly significant figure in the shaping of modern Wales.”
35. Clive Sullivan
The Cardiff-born rugby league wing was the first black captain of the Great Britain Lions and for any national British sporting side.
He played for Hull and Hull KR in his career as well as Oldham and Doncaster.
The fact he played professional sport is a miracle in itself as growing up he required surgery on his knees, feet and shoulders as a young teenager. Despite constant knee problems requiring further operations, he played a total of 352 games for Hull, scoring 250 tries. In his 213 games for Hull K.R. he scored 118 tries.
His international career took him to great heights having made his debut for Great Britain in 1967. The following year he played three World Cup matches, grabbing a hat-trick against New Zealand. He however won a further three Test caps against New Zealand in 1971.
In 1972 he was handed the captaincy of Great Britain and played two Tests against France. The World Cup took place that same year, and he captained Great Britain to become world champions. He scored a try in each of Great Britain’s four games.
Sullivan scored possibly the most famous try in the history of the World Cup to level 10-10 against Australia in the final, after a length of the field run.
In 1973 his Great Britain career came to an end with three Tests against Australia. When Sullivan died of cancer in 1985 aged just 42, the city of Hull held him in such high regard that a section of the city’s main approach road was renamed Clive Sullivan Way in his honour.
36. Robert Muza
Since arriving in Wales as a refugee from Zimbabwe in 2004, Robert from Newport has become a volunteer with Street Games and a casual community sports coach and youth worker for Newport council.
Despite not having a stable place to live for himself and his young family at that time he set about trying to ensure young people from marginalised groups across south Wales had the opportunity to play sport.
He is the founder and chairman of the Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association which promotes community cohesion through sports. He received the Newport Volunteer Award in 2011, the Newport Extra Mile Award and was named Community Sports Volunteer and Community Champion in 2012.
In 2014, Robert was awarded the National Award of Outstanding Contribution to Doorstep Sport for his contribution to sports among BME people. The University of Wales, Newport, has supported him and he volunteered at the Paralympic Games and with the London 2012 Olympics dehydration team.
37. Nicky Delgado
“I have no boss but the community, they pay my wages,” says Nicky, who was born in Butetown in 1949 and uses his skills as a writer, director and musician to make it a better place for those living there.
During a long career he has worked on plays, musicals and documentaries and has hosted 80 cultural groups, including working with groups at the Notting Hill Carnival.
As Capital Radio “Jobmate” he worked with the radio station, celebrities and others to help young people into employment, training or study.
A Black History Month Wales, founder and committee member for seven years he has worked with the Wales Millennium Centre to overcome the barrier between the venue and and local communities, instigating Chinese New Year festivities and the Black History Month Wales finale since 2010.
38. Christian Malcolm
The Newport-born athlete was an aspiring young footballer attracting the interest of QPR and Nottingham Forest before turning to the track as an 11-year-old.
He won the 1998 World Junior 100m and 200m titles, reached the Olympic 200m final twice, and competed at four Commonwealth Games – winning 200m silver in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and a bronze in the same event in Delhi 12 years later.
In 2017 he was named joint coach of the year at the BBC Sports Personality awards.
Malcolm, Benke Blomkvist and Stephen Maguire helped the Great Britain men’s 4x100m team to World Championship gold in the summer of 2017 in London, beating the USA and a Jamaica quartet who saw their star sprinter Usain Bolt pull up injured on the final leg.
The GB women’s sprint quartet, also coached by Malcolm, won silver at the event.
39. Lenn Lawrence
The first black carpenter and foreman for the British Steel Corporation in Neath Port Talbot, Lenn helped build the M4 motorway, the deep water dock for Marple ridgeway, Port Talbot town centre, the Pontdrefen bridge and many more sites.
Being an ethnic minority in 1962 in Wales was difficult and this led Lenn and other members of the community to start the Caribbean Friendship Society. Together they met with the police, councillors and other agencies.
Although they lacked funding for their organisation, Lenn and other members used their own money to set up meetings in each other’s houses, in a shed at the back of Corporation Road or at the Talbot pub.
In 1981, the society relocated to Swansea and lasted until 1992, when it evolved into Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council. Today it still upholds its initial principle, which is to value the rights of people. Lenn is a patron of Black History Wales.
40. Professor Charlotte Williams
Her award-winning memoir of growing up in Wales, Sugar and Slate, won Welsh book of the Year 2003.
Prof Williams is also known for her groundbreaking text A Tolerant Nation? Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Wales, has published essays in Planet magazine and is a commentator on issues of Welsh multiculturalism.
Her home and wider family network are in north Wales and she returns home each year but now works in Australia as Professor of social work and deputy dean at RMIT University in Melbourne.
Awarded a visiting professorship at the University of South Wales in USW Prof Williams was also was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for services to ethnic minorities and equal opportunities in Wales.
41. Kimberly Mpukusa
A former asylum seeker from Zimbabwe Kimberly was coached by her father to become the number one Welsh under 18s tennis player, despite struggling to find a sponsor.
Kimberly, from Swansea, later won the Sports Black History Month Wales 2016 Youth Award.
42. Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson was an acclaimed stage actor and singer, American footballer and political activist. Moving to the UK to escape racism in the US he developed strong links to Wales after meeting Welsh miners in London who were petitioning the government for help.
When he saw a choir singing, he joined in and then led them in a rendition. He later organised contributions so they could get back to south Wales on a freight train, complete with food and clothing. Later that year, he contributed proceeds of one of his concerts to the Welsh Miners’ Relief Fund.
Robeson joined the miners on hunger marches in 1927 and 1928, and in 1940 starred in the Ealing Studios movie Proud Valley, which told the tale of a black miner who moves to the valleys.
Such was his global appeal that he also performed at the 1957 Miners Eisteddfod via the newly completed transatlantic hook-up. Workers gathered in Porthcawlto hear Paul Robeson sing from New York.
He was once recorded as saying about Wales: “[It was there I] first understood the struggles of white and negro together – when I went down into the coal mine in the Rhondda Valley, lived amongst them.”
This year, his contribution to Welsh life was recognised with an opening event at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay.
Hwn yw fy Mrawd: Paul Robeson – Arwr i Gymru, Arwr i’r Byd, a biopic depicting the life of actor and singer, Paul Robeson and his strong links with Wales. SIr Bryn Terfel was one of the stars who featured in the performance.
The Friday night show was 60 years to the day since Paul Robeson addressed the Eisteddfod crowd at the 1958 festival in Ebbw Vale.
43. Paulette Palmer
After training as a state-enrolled nurse at Llandough Hospital in the 1970s Paulette became a senior nurse in the NHS, worked with sickle cell patients and was a deputy ward manager at the now closed Lansdowne Hospital where she cared for older people.
From 1996 to 2008, she owned and ran a small care home business for adults promoting independent living, employing people from the local community and students.
She was involved in voluntary community work at the Alkabulan Education and Cultural studies Saturday school based in Fitzalan High School Cardiff, helping children to improve their academic abilities and cultural awareness.
A church secretary for 10 years she read a prayer in Llandaff Cathedral, for the opening of the Welsh Assembly Government Building in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
She left Lansdowne to work with sickle cell patients after a young friend of hers died from the painful, incurable inherited blood disorder.
She is now a semi retired nurse working with the elderly and helping run the Genesis Health and Social Care Nurse Agency. She is also on the board of MENFA – Mentoring for All.
44. Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna
Professor of management and organisation at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. His recent research has included equality, diversity and inclusion, and his work has explored the position of black and minority ethnic communities in the labour market.
He was part of a team that completed a recent British Academy and Chartered Management Institute sponsored research project on diversity in the management pipeline of FTSE 100 organisations.
His work has received several national and international citations of excellence including best paper in services research (USA), top 50 most read management articles, most downloaded articles and several articles that have been ranked as editors’ choice.
Emmanuel is a current or past member of the editorial boards of many of the leading management journals and he is currently a trustee of Race Council Cymru.
45. Angeline Tshiyane
This Zimbabwean-born swimming coach from Newport has worked tirelessly to get more BME young people into the pool.
In 2017 she as given a Points of Light award by Prime Minister Theresa May where Mrs May praised her for “tackling the root of a social issue”.
Mrs May described her as “pioneering” and having made a “tremendous commitment” to her community.
Mrs May’s letter said: “By teaching children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds how to swim, you are tackling the root of a social issue while boosting the confidence of each of your students.
“You have created a pioneering and successful approach to increasing diversity and participation in the sport and have shown tremendous commitment in your volunteering in your local community of Newport.”
46. Beverley Lennon
Beverley moved to Wales from Brixton in 1987 after literally sticking a pin in a map in search of somewhere to start a new life.
She never imagined she’d become the first black female Welsh teacher in Cardiff.
The former comedian, impressionist and in-flight comedy entertainer turned to teaching after the death of her mother.
She began listening to Radio Cymru and watching S4C, not having a clue what was said and often resorting to translations of Noddy cartoons to help decipher the odd word.
“Welsh was addictive. I just wanted to know more,” she said.
Looking after her young sons at home, Beverley followed teach yourself Welsh courses and invented an imaginary friend “Bethan” who she spoke Welsh to.
A teaching degree followed and she taught at Cantonian High School in Cardiff and, away from the classroom, developed a career in Welsh broadcasting.
47. Roma Taylor
Arriving in Cardiff from the Caribbean at the age of 15, Roma was invited to participate in a Queen’s visit to the city and wear Welsh traditional dress, and wave at Her Majesty outside the Rainbow club in Butetown.
More than 60 years later photographs of the event were discovered in a skip in Roath, and a time capsule was unveiled.
The photographs were to appear on the front cover of the book A Tolerant Nation, postcards were printed, and the book was discussed on Flog It, and is now displayed in the National Museum of Wales.
Roma, who trained as a nurse, was a medic in the Territorial Army. She sang with Sir Tom Jones and Beverley Knight in the Gospel Christian Choir.
48. Yaina Samuels
Yaina has used her own experience of substance misuse, addiction, treatment and recovery to help others during more than 25 years experience working in private, public and third sector organisations.
In 2010, she established NuHi, a social enterprise which offers education and training workshops for people with substance misuse problems.
Over the last decade, Yaina has offered training and set up charitable aid projects including helping to establish a women’s leadership group in Sierra Leone.
She was recently appointed regional co-ordinator for the Ethnic Minority and Youth Support Team, an All Wales BAME engagement programme.
She has won the Enterprise Wales Award and was a Social Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and received a St David Award for Citizenship from the Welsh Government. In May 2016, she was awarded the Iconic Innovative Trailblazer of the Decade by the Women Economic Forum (WEF).
49. Ronnie Rush
Ronnie Rush became a boxing legend, helping Welsh fighters Steve Robinson (see no. 33) and Barry Jones win world titles.
Himself a former Trinidad and Tobago featherweight champion, charismatic Rush took Robinson under his wing and guided him to the world featherweight title during the 1990s.
His sheer enthusiasm for coaching at every level was inspirational and he set up his own boxing school, Ronnie’s Gym, in the Ely area of Cardiff. It helped turn around the fortunes of many disadvantaged youngsters.
Rush really hit the headlines though for guiding Robinson to the world title and helping him make seven successful defences of the crown between 1993 and 1995.
50. Keith Murrell
The Butetown born singer, musician and DJ has been part of the cultural and musical heritage of Cardiff’s Tiger Bay for decades.
Born in 1957, Keith is well known for his involvement in reviving and organising the Butetown Carnival in the early 1990s.
He was one of the creators of “Night at the Casablanca”, honouring the iconic Tiger Bay music venue Casablanca Club, which was the opening performance of Wales Millennium Centre’s 10th anniversary programme.
Steve’s other work includes being musical director for the Soul Exchange, a production by National Theatre Wales which told the story of a young man’s search for his father in Butetown.
51. Dr Andrew Feyi-Waboso
An ophthalmologist with a special interest in the management of complex glaucoma Dr Feyi-Waboso helped set up, and is a trustee of, the charity Sight 2020 direct which fights and treats preventable causes of blindness in the developing world.
He was instrumental in setting up a health link between Aneurin Bevan University Health board and Zomba Central hospital years ago and with his wife he has introduced blind football into Malawi.
The couple have also helped raise awareness of the plight of albinos in Malawi raising money to build a security wall around the children’s hostel to protect them from kidnapping. Their long term vision is to establish an eye hospital and centre of excellence in Malawi.
After training in Nigeria and doing a fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London Dr Feyi-Waboso is currently locum consultant ophthalmologist at The University Hospital of Wales and for Cwm Taf board. He is a Fellow of the Royal college of Surgeons, Edinburgh and Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
52. Naomi Alleyne
The director of Social Services and Housing at the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Before joining the WLGA, Naomi was a secondee to the Welsh Government working on race equality and asylum and immigration issues.
She has also worked within two Race Equality Councils, holding the position of director in the South East Wales REC.
While working for Cardiff and Vale Race Equality Council, Naomi was also involved in establishing BAWSO, the first refuge for BME victims of domestic violence in Wales.
53. Dr Glenn Jordan
In 1987 Dr Jordan helped found and was director of the Butetown History and Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay, which closed in 2016 after funding cuts.
Originally from California, he was Reader in cultural studies and creative practice at the former University of Glamorgan.
Dr Jordan has published widely on people’s history, visual culture, race and immigrants and minorities in Wales, and has curated a number of exhibitions in Wales and Ireland.
54. Roselynn Mbwembwe
Roselynn won the Performing Arts Black History Month Wales 2016 Youth Award but is no stranger to receiving awards
By the age of 15 she had received more than 25 awards in dance, including Welsh Dancer of the Year and various national awards.
After losing her father at a very young age she has become an outstanding role model to young black people and performs at fundraising and other events to raise awareness of various political and other causes.
55. Professor Florence Ayisi
An award-winning documentary film maker and professor of international documentary film at the University of South Wales.
Professor Ayisi has made films in Cameroon and Tanzania, including Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007) which gave Muslim girls in Zanzibar the chance to play football.
Female footballers there had been dubbed “hooligans” but thanks to the film the government changed official policy policy to actively encourage girls to play the sport.
Her films have won numerous prestigious film awards including the Prix Art Essai at Cannes. In 2008, Florence was awarded the UK Film Council Breakthrough Brits Award for Film Talent.
56. Tola Munro
President of the National Black Police Association and Progression Officer at Gwent Police Ethnic Minority Association.
Sergeant Munro is the first Welsh and also the first African President of the NBPA. He spent six years in Newport as a youth leader and church administrator and a brief spell at the Office for National Statistics before joining Gwent Policein 2006.
In 2010 Tola spent 101 days in Maryland, USA, as Fulbright Police Research Fellow researching domestic abuse and has master’s degree in police leadership and management.
A Londoner by birth, Tola was born to Nigerian parents and brought up by a British family from the age of two. Throughout his career he has initiated a network for Welsh public sector BME staff associations.
57. Dr Grace Kerry
Founder and executive director of the Gift of Grace Education Project an educational charity for children’s development in rural Nigeria.
The retired Open University lecturer is a trustee of Race Council Cymru and a UPF (Universal Peace Federation) Ambassador for Peace.
Dr Kerry is the author of several publications, the latest being The Senator – a remarkable story, a true story of women and politics in the first Nigerian Republic. Dr Kerry is a trustee for Race Council Cymru.
58. Denzil Lawrence
He’s a former world champion kickboxer who raised £150,000 for the charity Help the Heroes by training people free of charge at his gym in Cardiff.
This year Denzil has raised £12,000 for the Stroke Foundation through charity boxing events he organised following the sudden death of his wife Suzanne two years ago.
Denzil is running another charity boxing event for the same cause in October with novice boxers training over eight weeks at his gym the Ultimate Fitness Centre.
His son Levi, 24, is also a champion kickboxer and daughter Danielle, 26, has just made Denzil a grandfather for the first time.
59. Vernesta Cyril OBE
The 2006 Midwife of the year, Vernesta Cyril was born in St Lucia but left in 1962 to follow a career in nursing and midwifery in the UK.
Her cousin’s severe postnatal depression prompted Vernesta to work to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers.
Over the course of 30 years, she delivered more than 500 babies and was recognised for her service in 2006 when she won UK Midwife of the Year.
She has spent many years challenging discrimination and promoting racial equality which led her to become the founder of South East Wales Racial Equality Council (SEWREC). In 1999, she was awarded the OBE for her services within the community.
Vernesta a patron of Black History Wales.
60. Humie Webbe
Humie has worked in the public and community sector for almost 30 years and has devoted her time to championing disadvantaged groups, in particular BAME and disabled people, to have an effective voice to improve services and opportunities.
The community activist was a founder member and former chair of Black Voluntary Sector Network Wale (BVSNW) where she steered the organisation to obtain regular funding from Welsh Government.
She was named in the Western Mail’s 2002 Power list as one of the most influential people in Wales.
Humie is also an award-winning performer, educator, events and project manager. Her vocals were featured on the Oscar-nominated animation Famous Fred and in 2002 she received a Welsh Diversity Award for Best Achievement in Performing Arts.
She has organised events for BBC, HTV, Hay Festival, Brecon Jazz Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales to name a few. She’s a co-founder of Butetown Bay Jazz Heritage Festival.
Humie’s advisory roles include the Creative and Cultural Skills Sector Advisory Group,. Equity ULA as part of the CULT Cymru Union Learning Advisor network, and National Adviser for the Arts Council of Wales. She is part of Women Connect First mentoring project Celebrating Women in Wales as one of their identified Inspirational Women.
61. Ryan Giggs
Cardiff-born Ryan Giggs was appointed manager of the Wales national football team in January 2018.
He is one of the most decorated players in football history and has played more times for Manchester United than any other player, having first turned out for the club in 1990.
Born in 1973, he made his Wales debut in 1991, going on to win 64 caps.
His father Danny Wilson was a rugby union player for Cardiff RFC. His paternal grandfather is from Sierra Leone.
Giggs has spoken of the racism he faced while growing up and is an ambassador for the Show Racism The Red Card movement.
62. Gaynor Legall
The first female, African Caribbean councillor in Cardiff, Gaynor Legall is an advocate for ethnic minority women across Wales.
She’s on the board of Diverse Excellence Cymru, Bawso and is director of the Butetown History and Arts Centre.
She has since been awarded a Lifetime Achievement by the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievement Association.
63. Madge Thomas
Jamaica-born Madge moved to Britain aged 19 to fulfil her dream of becoming a midwife. She moved to Cardiff where she established award-winning charity, MENFA (Mentoring for All).
After 33 years as a midwife, Madge took early retirement in 2005 to focus on MENFA, which had started as a play scheme in 1984 at the New Testament Church in Butetown.
“The children didn’t have anything to do. They were just getting into trouble, into mischief,” recalls Madge.
The MENFA Grand Charity Dinner organised by Madge raised money for charity projects in Jamaica and there are currently two MENFA centres in Spanish Town, and 83 mentors.
In 2000 Madge won the BT Childline Award for services to children and The Scarman Trust People’s Millennium Award.
64. Abby Farah MBE
This Somali seaman crossed the world to work in Barry Docks in the late 19th century and set about becoming a community leader.
Known as “Father” to colonial seamen who visited Cardiff, Barry and Newport he was the first point of reference for seamen who sought advice when they arrived in Wales.
He founded Cardiff and Barry Coloured Society and the Domino Youth Club in Barry.
Abby also became the president of the Colonial Club in Barry and went on to manage the Colonial Club in Cardiff. He was awarded the MBE by King George VI for his war time services to seamen.
He is the father of Abdulrahmin Abby Farah (see no. 65) and the grandfather of Abdirahman Abby Farah MBE (see no. 66).
65. Abdulrahim Abby Farah
Described as the “Barry Boy that helped free Mandela” this Welsh-born son of a Somali seaman became a Somali diplomat working tirelessly behind the scenes at the United Nations and his death earlier this year prompted tributes from around the world.
As a pupil at Gladstone Primary Abdulrahim did well and passed the 11-plus to attend Barry Grammar.
From there he went on to study at Exeter College, Oxford before forging a career as diplomat for Somalia in the United Nations. Friends say despite many years away he never lost his Welsh accent.
He’s the son of Abby Farah MBE (see no. 64).
66. Abby Farah Abdirahman MBE
Born in Cardiff and educated in Barry at Gladstone Road Junior and Barry Grammar Schools, Abdirahman Farah graduated from university and went on to hold top cabinet posts in the Somali Government becoming permanent secretary in the Foreign Ministry and Chief of the Cabinet in the Somali Government.
In 1969, after a coup d’etat brought General Siad Barre to power, Abdirahman began an 18-year career with the BBC in the Somali section of the African Services.
He was Somali programme organiser for the BBC his immense knowledge of Somali culture and politics, in the colonial days of British Somaliland, was acknowledged and rewarded when the Queen awarded him an MBE in 1957.
He is the grandson of Abby Farah (see no. 64).
67. Suzanne Packer
Suzanne is an actress best known for her long-held role in Casualty.
Born in 1962 in Cardiff, she has also appeared in Brookside, Holby City and Keeping Faith.
The daughter of Jamaican parents who lived in Abergavenny, she went to Llanederyn High in Cardiff, joined the National Youth Theatre of Wales and studied drama at the University of Warwick and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
In 2017 she appeared in Tiger Bay The Musical alongside John Owen-Jones and Noel Sullivan.
68. Donna Teresa Zammit
Born and bred in Butetown, Donna has worked closely with the local community for many years and is director and head of Radio Cardiff.
In 2005 she won a Cardiff Council Community Award for the Healthy Living Programme that she spearheaded. Donna opened a gym, a cafe at Loudoun House and a “grow your own” vegetable garden.
Donna has been a fixture at Radio Cardiff since its launch. She won awards for best female presenter (twice) and best factual programme.
Since she took over as director and head of Radio Cardiff two years ago, the station has won MMG’s regional best community radio station 2017 award.
69. Nathan Blake
He came through as a youngster with Cardiff City, shining in the blue shirt for five years and a key part of the Eddie May Class of 1993, who won the old Third Division title.
For many Bluebirds fans, that is still regarded as their fondest time following the club and Blake earned himself legendary status as a result.
He went on to play in the top flight with Sheffield United, Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves and won 29 caps for his country.
He has since become a hugely respected pundit on football and helps produce his own hugely popular Blakey’s Bootroom show for WalesOnline, while he also writes a Bluebirds column for the South Wales Echo.
70. John Lenney Junior MBE
Before founding Radio Cardiff in 2007, John Lenney Junior pioneered a number of short-term community radio licences including Tiger Bay Radio, Dock of the Bay Radio, Bay FM and Beats FM.
He is a youth trainer, entrepreneur,musician and presenter and for several years hosted his own Saturday night show on BBC Radio Wales.
In 2006, John was awarded the MBE for services to music and young people in Cardiff.
In October 2017 he succeeded the late Danny Abse as an Honorary Vice President of VCS (Voluntary Community Service) a scheme launched in 1964 by volunteers based in the original Butetown Community Hall.
John is a Black History Wales Patron.
71. Colin Dixon
Colin “Dicki” Dixon switched from rugby union to rugby league aged 17 early in his career and went to play for Halifax.
Dixon was one of 24 players inducted into the Halifax Hall of Fame just before his untimely death in 1993 aged just 49.
Born in Tiger Bay he went to the same school in Tiger Bay as Billy Boston and John Freeman.
72. Amas Gbubemi Amanoritsewor
This multi-talented international artist specialises in the performing and fine arts working with young people, socially excluded or disadvantaged groups to foster engagement and participation.
Originally from Nigeria, Amas has lived in Wales since 2003.
He has been involved in a number of Arts Council of Wales funded projects including the Celtic/Africa project.
Amas works with various community groups in Wales including the Llanelli Multicultural Association and has delivered more than 400 African drumming, dance and songs workshops in schools across Wales He is a trustee of several organisations including Sherman Cymru and Scout Wales.
73. Iolanda Banu Viegas
Born in Mozambique with Portuguese heritage, Iolanda moved to Wrexham in 2001.
A determined community activist she is dedicated to providing voluntary assistance not only to the 2,000-strong Portuguese speaking community in Wrexham but also to other language and ethnic minority communities in the area.
She is founder and chair of the Portuguese community group Comunidade de Lingua Portuguesa de Wrexham which now has 2,000 Portuguese speaking community members including Africans from five different Portuguese speaking countries.
She has campaigned for BAME people to have better access to reporting racist incidents and hate crime in North Wales and is the Third Sector Partnership Council (TSPC) representative for Race Council Cymru (RCC).
Iolanda is an elected councillor for the Portuguese Communities in the UK and Ireland and chairs the Black History North Wales Committee.
74. Jainaba Sallah Conteh
Studying in Swansea University, Jainaba became Women’s Officer for the Student Union.
She won the Inspirational HE Woman student 2017 award and a gold HEAR award for work and leadership of Students Union.
She was part of the organising team for the TEDxSwanseaWomen 2017, which discussed the issue of FGM, period poverty and self-acceptance, as well as a volunteer leader of the African Community Centre’s I Can youth work and organiser of Swansea’s Got Talent 2013.
She is currently doing an internship with the Medical Research Council in Gambia. Jainaba won the Young Leader Black History Youth Award 2017.
75. Ismat Ayed
Ismat won the Young Volunteer Black History Month Wales 2016 Youth Award and has shown long-term commitment and dedication to his community in Butetown.
He has contributed to the local community development, inspiring political involvement and fundraising more than £10,000 for a range of different community sporting events such as a tournament at the Cardiff International Stadium and an Eid Football event in Canal Park, Butetown.
He later helped to establish the Tiger Bay Youth Football Club and cooperated with local police in Operation Bang to reduce anti-social behaviour during Halloween and Bonfire Night.
76. Cliff DePass
One of the lead founding members of Black History Month in Wales, Cliff is regarded as an elder statesman amongst the community members.
He has delivered ancestral tribute at every Black History Month event for the past eight years and is the “go-to reference” for GLOCOL (Global Local) Matters Around Black History and promoting Black History Month.
77. Eddie Parris
The first black footballer to represent Wales. Eddie, or Ted, Parris was born near Chepstow in 1911 after his parents moved to Wales from Jamaica.
Twenty years later he was to win his one and only Welsh football cap against Northern Ireland in Belfast – nearly half a century before England’s first black player was awarded an international cap.
He played his club football for Bradford Park Avenue, Bournemouth, Luton Town, Bath City, Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town.
He later worked in an aeroplane factory, and died in Gloucestershire in 1971.
Although sometimes cited as the first black player to play for any of the home countries, research now suggests that in fact the first was the Scotland player Andrew Watson.
78. Liara Barussi
In 2013, Liara founded Jukebox Collective, a creative street dance company with a mission to inspire, create and educate through street dance and Hip Hop culture.
It’s recognised as a leading company for street dance in the UK and was awarded regular funding from Arts Council Wales.
Liara was a judge and hip hop mentor on BBC’s Young Dancer 2015 and she is a member of National Theatre Wales Community.
Liara’s career began aged just 15 when the self-taught choreographer took the bold step of giving free dance lessons in her house and the local youth clubs where she lived in Ely, Cardiff.
79. Angela Barnes
Deputy founder of Black History Cymru Elders, Angela Barnes emigrated from Jamaica in the 1960s and worked with her war veteran father Mr Nation at the first Caribbean cafe in Butetown.
Nation Cafe was renowned for its Jamaican cuisine and notorious domino games.
After being crowned “Miss 3” in the Butetown beauty pageant Angela qualified as a computer tutor and taught at the Barnardo’s Multicultural Resource Centre and Mentoring for All.
She volunteered with St Mary’s Primary BVSNW Black Parent Support Group and the Friends and Family of Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Group. She works as a fundraiser for good causes in the Welsh black and ethnic community.
80. Faith Walker
As a presenter on Radio Cardiff, Faith connects with communities through an eclectic mix of soul, RnB, reggae, old skool and rap.
She is also a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales Committee and the managing director of FW Consultancy.
She has more than 20 years’ experience working with communities and is a qualified youth and community practitioner.
Faith is co-founder of Women Stepping Out, which promotes education and self confidence within the African Caribbean community, and managed it between 1994-2014. She has worked to help empower children, young people, families, and communities in her many roles including life coach, mentor and community development consultant.
Faith was appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, to conduct consultation work on his behalf with the African/Caribbean community in south Wales. She is also the leadership development specialist for Friends of Cardiff Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia, which provides screening and support to those affected and their families.
81. Josie d’Arby
The Newport-born television and radio presenter attended the Anna Scher Theatre in London as a teenager before winning a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She has appeared in TV drama and comedies including Judge John Deed, Mersey Beat and Miranda and in 1999 became the youngest British woman to host her own chat show on Channel 5.
Josie has presented programmes including the Bigger Breakfast (a spinoff from The Big Breakfast) and Top of the Pops.
Recently, she has been a presenter on BBC Young Musician of the Year, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World BBC Songs of Praise and BBC Choir of the Year.
She has co-presented The Steve Wright Show for BBC Radio 2 and documentaries for BBC Radio 4. She also presented a live edition of The Choir for BBC Radio 3 and in 2017 hosted the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year final.
The festival arts documentary National Eisteddfod 2017 with Josie d’ Arby, was broadcast in summer 2017 on BBC4 and BBC2 Wales and she regularly presents BBC Proms in the Park.
82. Christopher Nation
Christopher has been volunteering from an early age raising awareness of the pressures on young carers and young adult carers.
Trained as a Youth Beats DJ and broadcast journalist he is a volunteer at Radio Cardiff, where he co-presents Sportified IMIS.
In 2013, Christopher won the Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizens Award in association with BBC World News. He chose to donate all of his prize money to the young carer organisation that initially supported him during his hours of need.
In 2016, Christopher received the Black History Month Wales Young Carer Award. He also won the Young Volunteer 2016 award along with the Young Leader Black History Youth Awards 2016 and 2017.
He volunteers for Black History Month Wales and has written articles for The Sprout Online, The Royal Princess Anne Carers Trust, Live Magazine and the Birmingham Movie Video and Screen Awards.
83. Daniel Wilson
The physics teacher is one of the few black teachers in Wales and believes he is the only black teacher in Blaenau Gwent, where he works at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community, the local school for three to 18-year olds.
Four decades after getting its first black head teacher just 59 of Wales’ 36,182 teachers identify as black and there are no black head teachers, according to Education Workforce Council figures.
Daniel says he has encountered no racism in his work and more black teachers, head teachers and school governors are needed.
“For most of the kids in the valley the first black person they come across is me,” he said.
He believes there is still “unconscious cultural bias” in favour of white people in education but says the pupils he has taught for five years are not part of that bias.
“What I love about teaching children is they see past the colour of your skin and see the person and you are just seen as a teacher. I have never experienced racism working in school here. But there are so few of us visible that whether you like it or not we are ambassadors for black people.”
84. Leanne Rahman
A professional projects manager, trainer, arts, and events coordinator Leanne took part in workshops run by the Black Film and Video Workshop in Wales and after graduating from the Newport Film School with a BA in film and video went on to use her skills to increase diversity in the arts in Wales.
Leanne was volunteer coordinator for the International Black Film Festival in Wales initiating the first Shorts in Colour tour and junior film and video workshops.
She specialises in programming, curating and developing diverse arts projects as well as advising on how to diversify audiences and reach communities that are poorly represented in arts participation and arts delivery in Wales. Her work includes fundraising, managing and coordinating Black History Month Wales.
85. Reverend Hadassah Radway
Born in Jamaica, Pastor Hadassah Radway migrated to England aged 11 where she lived before moving to Newport.
As a teacher and pastor for the New Testament Church of God she has encouraged young and older people to reach their potential in education.
She has worked as a teacher in primary secondary and tertiary education and is currently a sessional lecturer at Filton College, Bristol.
As a pastor she has had positions in the UK and the Bahamas, and is currently pastor of the church in Bath and was Women’s Ministry President at New Seasons Church in Newport.
During a career in education spanning more than 30 years she was the head of Bristol’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS).
86. Richard Nkhata
Richard and his dance group member Shawn James have taken part in workshops, performances and planning sessions for the community.
He has performed in family events such as Kaya Festival, The Big Music Project and Get Set For Community Action in partnership with Age Cymru.
Richard has also dedicated a lot of his time to help YMCA Swansea getting involved in projects including Arts Children In Need and Get Set For Community Action Age Cymru.
He performed at the 2016 Youth Matters Awards in London and won the Black History Youth Awards for Performing Arts in 2017 award with his dance group, Ask about Mr Wales.
87. Dr Ama Eyo
Dr Eyo is director of the LLM in Public Procurement Law and Strategy, at Bangor University.
She was shortlisted as one of six finalists for the Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year in 2015).
She is a specialist in public sector procurement. Before moving to Wales she was actively involved in regulatory and commercial legal practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
88. Leonard Hinds
Born in Barbados in 1887, 54 years after slavery was abolished on the island, Leonard became a merchant seaman in his teens and, moved to Barry where he married a local girl.
Serving as a fireman on merchant ships throughout World War One, he was awarded the Mercantile Marine (with ribbons) in 1919 and later became a miner in Maerdy.
He died in 1948 in Gelligaer. His legacy is six generations of Welsh children which includes his son John Darwin Hinds (see no. 89), his daughter Gwenllian Hinds (see no. 90) the first black woman councillor and his grandson Jamie Baker, the first black councillor on Southampton City Council in 1991.
89. John Darwin Hinds
The first black Caribbean and Muslim mayor in the UK and Wales’ first black councillor.
John Hinds became Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan in 1975 after being elected as a Labour councillor to Barry Council in 1958.
When he joined the council he was one of only three Welsh speaking councillors.
Born in Maerdy in December 1922, the son of Leonard Hinds (see no. 88) he went into the Bargoed coal mine straight from school but left there to work in The Colonial Office in London where he became interested in politics.
Returning to Wales he became a Muslim after nearly dying of TB. He died in 1981.
90. Elvira Gwenllian (Hinds) Payne
Wales’ first black woman councillor was born in Morgan Street, Barry in 1917.
She was elected to the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 1972 and continued to serve local people in Barry at Church and political level until her death in 2007.
Elvira married Barbadian Colin Montgomery Payne in 1951 and had three sons. She was John Darwin’s Lady Mayoress before being elected as a councillor.
The daughter of Leonard Hinds (see no. 88).
91. Dame Shirley Bassey
She needs no introduction and has had so many achievements in her long and distinguished career, it’s hard to list them all.
Born in Tiger Bay in 1937 Dame Shirley Bassey has sold more than 135m records during her seven-decade career and now lives in Monaco.
She recorded the theme songs to James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979).
In 1959 the girl with the big voice became the first Welsh person to gain a No. 1 single and is one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century.
She’s even played Glastonbury – taking diamante encrusted wellies.
92. Steve Khaireh MBE
Community youth worker Steve Khaireh received an MBE in 2012 in honour of his many years’ service working with young people in Cardiff.
Steve, from the city’s Grangetown, first started volunteering as a 15-year-old at his local youth centre in Butetown, and went on to dedicate 26 years of his life working for Cardiff council as a youth worker.
He is also the great nephew of Abdulrahim Abby Farah (see no. 65), who chaired a special UN committee which helped in the release of Nelson Mandela.
93. Ali Abdi
This energetic community organiser for the Somaliland community in Cardiff is on a mission to ensure young people are at the forefront of campaigning for change and organising a better deal for themselves and their communities.
Projects he has spearheaded include the ambitious Bay Citizens Community Jobs Compact in 2017 to bring local people and employers together to tackle poverty, unemployment and under-representation in the workforce.
Employers were asked to pledge to adopt name-blind recruitment practices, pay the living wage and to employ locally skilled and qualified people.
To date 10 Welsh organisations and companies have committed to this and a further 30 are in discussions.
94. Kebba Manneh
The chair of UNISON Black Members Group, Kebba Manneh has worked in the NHS and is a senior presiding magistrate in Gwent.
He is a former chairman of Cwmbran Community Council and former chair for South East Wales Regional Equality Council (SEWREC).
95. Ify Iwobi
The multi award-winning Swansea-born pianist and composer studied music performance at Brunel University in London and is an accomplished classical and contemporary pianist performing across Wales, London and internationally.
Ify leads the Ify Iwobi and Co band which has performed in venues including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Wales Millennium Centre.
She fund raises for the African Community Centre in Swansea and supported eight refugee families with free piano lessons for children.
Her numerous awards include the Swansea Bay Young Achievers Awards for Performing Arts in 2017. She has performed at charity events for Stepping Stones, which supports children with autism in Wales, Onani Foundation Sight2020, a Welsh-based charity supporting blind and partially sighted children in Malawi and the Prof Joseph Ogbonna Education Foundation to help educate disadvantaged children and orphans in rural Nigeria.
Ify and her band performed at the St David Awards. She fundraises for the African Community Centre in Swansea and has performed voluntarily for more than 120 events. Her awards include a Swansea Bay Young Achievers Award 2017, Best Volunteer at Swansea YMCA 2016 and Black History Young Musician of the Year 2016.
96. John Ystumllyn
John Ystumllyn, also known as Jac Du and Jack Black, is believed to have been captured in childhood as a slave in Africa around 1742 by a member of the Wynne family of Ystumllyn and went on to become half of one of the very first, if not the the first, mixed race marriage in Wales.
Brought to Wales John was kept as a servant on the Ystumllyn estate in Gwynedd where he worked as the estate farm’s gardener.
Records show he was accepted by the community, and quickly became fluent in Welsh and English.
In 1768 John married Margaret Margaret Gruffydd, a maid from Hendre Mur, Trawsfynydd, and they had seven children.
John died in 1786 after an illness, and was buried in the churchyard at Ynyscynhaearn between Pentrefelin and Criccieth. The church and churchyard are now in the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches – and a memorial stone was later raised.
97. Dr Roiyah Saltus
A sociologist and board member of the Race Equality Sub-Group, Dr Saltus is the director of Women Connect First which offers services and training to improve lives of BME women in Cardiff and south east Wales.
Outside academia at the University of South Wales, Roiyah is also director of Wales Ethnicity Research Collaboration, and an advisory board member for the NHS Evidence – Ethnicity and Health and adviser for the Awetu All-Wales BME Mental Health Group.
98. Iris Williams OBE
The Rhydyfelin-born jazz legend’s 40-year international jazz singing career includes the hits He Was Beautiful (1979) and Pererin Wyf (1971) a Welsh-language version of Amazing Grace.
She won the Welsh talent contest Cân i Gymru (A Song for Wales) in 1974 with the song I gael Cymru’n Gymru Rydd (For a Free Wales)
Iris has sung with Bob Hope, for the Royal Variety Performance and was one of the stars of the gala concert to celebrate the opening of the National Assembly of Wales in 1999.
She was born in 1946 and brought up as a foster child in Tonyrefail. Her father was a black American GI posted to Wales during World War Two and her mother, who he met at a dance hall in Pontypridd, gave her up for adoption.
Her career took off after she won a scholarship to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Iris became a foster care champion for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in 2014.
She was honoured with an OBE in 2004 for her contribution to music, performing for troops around the world. She now lives in the USA.
99. Linda Mitchell
The BBC’s first ever head of diversity and the former community affairs editor for BBC south east Linda, who lives in Cardiff, studied at Cardiff University.
After leaving the BBC she went on to a career in UN peacekeeping as media adviser to the UN’s integrating peacebuilding mission for Sierra Leone.
During her work there she oversaw the handover of UN radio assets to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Authority.
100. Sheila Hendrickson-Brown
Sheila is chief executive of Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC).
Her volunteer work in Cardiff includes being a primary school governor and co-chair of an after school club, providing child care in Adamsdown.
She is a trustee and chair of Black Voluntary Sector Network Wales and chair of trustees of BAWSO (Black Association of Women Step Out), which supports BAME people experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse or violence.
She sits on a range of boards, including the Cardiff Public Services Board, the Wales Third Sector Equality and Human Rights Network and the Cardiff and Vale Regional Partnership Board.
Events marking Black History Month Wales
Black History Month this October encourages everyone, irrespective of ethnicity or colour, to take part in events to celebrate diversity and cultural understanding.
This year marks its 11th year and its theme is “Icons of Black Wales”.
Race Council Cymru, which organises the annual month, has been asking grassroots communities to nominate inspiring individuals from across Wales to help it compile the list. It was overwhelmed with names of potential candidates.
The 100 brilliant, black and Welsh list has been published to celebrate and coincide with the launch of Black History Month with the Black History Youth Awards in Wales at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.
The free event on Friday, September 28, between 11.30am and 4.30pm will be hosted by Professor Mark Drakeford AM with special guest Lord Herman Ouseley and performances by Kizzy Crawford and Ify Iwobi.
A host of events follow including:
* Saturday, September 29
– The Creative Arts Launch from 11.30am to 4.30pm at St Fagans National Museum of History. Free, it will include the unveiling of parliamentary portraits, music performances and much more. It will be launched by Vaughan Gething AM and Joyce Watson AM.
– The Bangor Launch from midday to 4pm at Bangor Town Clock. This free event will include music, drumming and poetry.
* Sunday, September 30
– The Wrexham launch at Ty Pawb on Market Street, Wrexham, between 2pm and 6pm. Free, there will be African dances, hip-hop music and more.
* Monday, October 1
– The Aberystwyth launch with Race Council Cymru, the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn and Aberystwyth Students’ Union, with support from Aber Fund. Simon Wolley OBE, director of Operation Black Vote, historian Esther Stanford and BME student officer Ammaara Nalban will make speeches and there will be live music from reggae band Jazzy Africana, drummer Bongo Clive and steel drummer Wahda, plus an arts and crafts exhibition. Free, it will take place between 10am and 4.30pm in the main hall of the University’s Students’ Union on Penglais Campus.
* Sunday, October 6
– A Windrush themed event from 9pm to 10.45pm at Ffresh, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. For tickets, call the box office on 029 2063 6464 .
– A Tribute to Cesaria Evora workshop will take place from 7pm ’til late at Vasco da Gama, 30-32 Lord St,Wrexham.
* Monday, October 8
– Swansea will have two events at Swansea Grand Theatre (Arts Wing) – a Race Equality Conference from 9.30am-2.30pm and the Swansea launch of Black History Month from 6pm to 9pm. Events are hosted in partnership with the City and County of Swansea and 4TheRegion.
To attend the conference, which is free, register here:
To attend the evening event call the box office on 01792 475715.
* Saturday, October 13
– Storytelling at Ffresh in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, from 9pm to 10.45pm. For tickets, call the box office on 029 2063 6464 .
* Monday, October 15
– The Black History Month launch in Newport at the Riverfront Theatre and Art Centre on the Kingsway between 9.30am and 4.30pm. This free event is in conjunction with the Police and Crime Commissioner of Gwent Jeff Cuthbert, with performances by Zim Voices, Sun of Africa and others.
* Tuesday, October 16
– At Swansea Museum from 10.30am to 12.30pm there is the free unveiling of the FirstWaves Parliamentary Exhibition. This exhibition focuses on the impact of the Race Relations Act 1968.
* Wednesday, October 17
– A free film screening of ‘I am not a Witch’ hosted by Vaughan Gething AM, Race Council Cymru and Watch Africa at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, between 6pm and 8pm.
* Saturday, October 20
– A youth event at the Wales Millennium centre (Glanfa stage), Cardiff Bay, featuring New Town Kings and Reuel Elijah as well as an open-mic between 11.30am and 6pm. On the same evening, there will be another youth event at Ffresh at the Wales Millennium Centre, which will have a DJ and Hip-Hop music. For tickets, call the box office on 029 2063 6464.
* Thursday, October 25
– The official anniversary of 50 years of the Race Relations Act 1968.
– The Race Equality Conference will be held in Cardiff at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Hosted by Julie James AM, Leader of the House and Chief Whip. Speakers include Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote, Dr Paul Hutchings and Ali Abdi. Entry is free by registering here.
* Friday, November 2
Remembrance Service in recognition of the contributions of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Men and Women to the First and Second World Wars. Organised by Race Council Cymru in partnership with Welsh Government, WCIA, British Legion and Horn Development Association, it takes place at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff from 6pm. It is free and all are welcome to attend.
* Thursday, November 4
– The Grand Finale will be held at Royal College of Music and Drama from midday to 6pm featuring Bob Bailey and the Jailers, Ify Iwobi and Co, and First Minister Carwyn Jones AM.
If you would like to know more about Black History Month events across Wales, visit website https://bhmwales.org.uk/
Race Council Cymru (RCC) is the overarching umbrella body in Wales established by ethnic minority community who work to combat racial prejudice, race discrimination, harassment, abuse and violence. RCC promotes art, heritage and cultural activities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities across Wales.
The Black History Wales Wide programmes are funded by Arts Council Wales and other supporters.