African Global Networks (AGN)

Personal Profile

Anthony Kalume

Anthony Kalume

A son of the soil he is from Kilifi County in Kenya.  Content and happy in the country of his birth he had no burning desire to leave for pastures new.  Decades ago he met an English lady in Kenya who would eventually become his wife.  They started a family while in Kenya and when she was posted for 2 years to Aleppo in Syria he accompanied her and their 2 children.

After his wife’s assignment was over and given the political uncertainty in Kenya at that time he and his wife had to make a decision about where best to raise and educate their young children.  They decided they would relocate the family to the UK.

Tony arrived in the UK in the late 90’s armed with a qualification in ‘Tropical Agriculture’, since then he has obtained a post grad in ‘Communities Engagement & Enterprise’ and this September he will be going on to study a masters in ‘Museum Curating & Heritage Collection’.

He readily admits that on arriving in the UK acclimatizing to the temperate conditions was a challenge.  The cold, wet and grey skies took some getting used to!

While in Kenya he had undertaken a variety of roles e.g. civil servant, journalist, musician to name but a few.  He is well versed in wearing many hats, an attribute that has served him well up to the present day.

He is Chair of the charity (Diversity Lewes) in East Sussex, UK. He is also a guest lecturer in creative writing at the University of Brighton.  Allied to that he is a public speaker, consultant and a member of the collecting panel for the permanent collection at ‘The Royal Pavilion’ in Brighton.

It is evident that Kenyan culture has a significant bearing on his resourcefulness.  He says he had the privilege of having parents from two different parts of Kenya who infused traditional knowledge and wisdom into him.  He in turn has passed these values onto his children.  Mental fortitude, integrity and discipline are the core values that were instilled in the village he grew up in.

Tony’s hairstyle is one of the things that sets him apart.  The Siga hairstyle (or to adopt the more popular term ‘dreadlocks’) isn’t something he wears out of vanity or in adherence to a religious belief.  It is a hairstyle that has some significance in the village he was raised in.

When he was in his late teens his aunt said she dreamed he was wearing his hair in the Siga style and that she felt it would suit him.  Usually the Waganga (traditional healers/ herbalists) like his aunt, wear their hair this way.  After discussing the cultural intricacies about this hairstyle and after a further period of reflection, Anthony decided to adopt it.

Adherence to and respect for traditional norms is something that Anthony has carried with him throughout his life.  When asked what does he feel
would be beneficial to Afro-Caribbean people in the UK he cites respecting the wisdom derived from our African heritage which we have side-lined for non-African cultural influenced practices.

He feels that there would be much to gain by paying more attention to the elders who have an abundance of wisdom and spiritual values to impart.  He totally embraces ‘Kiuyeuye uya’ i.e. going back to/ drawing on his roots.

African Global Networks (AGN) - July 2019

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