Celebrations begin for Norfolk Black History Month

African and Caribbean heritage is being celebrated in a month-long festival packed full of music, dancing, storytelling, lectures and more.

More than 100 special events for people of all ages are taking place across Norwich and Norfolk for Black History Month which kicks off this weekend.

Its aim is to celebrate the contributions black people past and present have made to the world, help promote diversity and challenge prejudice.

The array of activities on offer during October ranges from storytelling and crafts for children, to talks about subjects relating to black history, music and theatre, to the chance to listen to African and Caribbean beats.

Abraham Eshetu, chairman of the Norfolk Black History Month steering group, said he hoped everyone would get involved.

'This is the ninth year of Norfolk Black History Month and the biggest yet,' he said.

'This year we have organised different events catering for all ages with our intention to make Black History Month accessible and relevant to all. I urge everyone to come and celebrate Black History Month.'

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He said Norfolk Black History Month's 2012 programme offered a balance of entertainment, education and information, and it brought a different dimension to Norfolk's cultural landscape.

'It is all about bringing people together,' he said.

'It is about learning, it is about discovering, it is about sharing. Let's discover, enjoy, learn, remember and inspire each other.'

Among the first events in Norfolk Black History Month is a free Family Festival at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich tomorrow.

From 2pm until 5pm, people can enjoy an afternoon packed with demonstrations and creative activities for the whole family and take part in a gallery trail around the centre's world art collections.

In the evening, Afro-Cuban rhythms will fill the centre as it welcomes Future Radio's World Cultures show, and there will also be a chance to take part in a salsa workshop with Jos� Ferrera, or try contemporary African dance with Glennis Masuku.

Also tomorrow, a Football Unites, Racism Divides five-a-side football tournament involving teams from across Norfolk will take place from 10am at the UEA Sportspark, and the tournament champions will be crowned in a ceremony at 5pm at the Sainsbury Centre as part of the Family Festival celebrations.

Some of the other Black History Month events coming up:

• The Black History Month market at Norwich's Castle Mall is bringing the sounds, flavours and colours of East and North Africa and the Caribbean to the city from October 8 to 21 each day from 10am until 4pm.

• From October 1 to 14 the Millennium Library, in Norwich, is hosting Containing Multitudes, an exhibition of a collection of letters written by Sarah Hicks Williams, a young, white, middle-class woman who left her New York state to marry a slaveholder, and which reveal a vivid snapshot of 19th-century American slavery.

The exhibition is open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and it will also be accompanied by a series of lectures.

• Children can take part in free African stories and craft sessions at many Norfolk libraries including: Taverham Library on October 20 from 10.30am to 11.30pm, Mile Cross Library on October 30 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, Hellesdon Library from 10.30am to 11.30am, and Blofield Library from 3pm until 4pm.

• From October 16 to 20 Norwich Theatre Royal is hosting the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Julius Caesar which transports the play to modern day Africa. Tickets cost �5 to �25. To book call 01603 630000 or visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

• On October 18 at 8.30pm Cinema City is showing The Harder They Come, a film about a young Jamaican man with dreams of becoming a successful Reggae singer.

• Norfolk Black History Month runs throughout October. For more details about the celebrations and specific events visit www.norfolkblackhistorymonth.org.uk