Africa Research Interest Group Launch Conference

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Preserving African Culture and Knowledge

Join our African Research Interest Group (AFRIG) in Chelmsford on 23 June 2023, for an inaugural conference on the theme of Preserving African Culture and Knowledge.

We'll be discussing why it is important for African culture to be preserved, introducing research group members, and hearing from keynote speakers who have a wealth of knowledge on the importance of our theme.

Keynote speakers

Debbie Ariyo OBE

Debbie Ariyo OBE, keynote speaker at the AFRIG conference 2023

Debbie is Chief Executive of AFRUCA, a UK charity she founded in 2001 to address child safeguarding and child trafficking issues in African diaspora communities and provide services to help support children and families and rehabilitate victims.

Debbie chairs the BME Anti-Slavery Network (BASNET) which she founded in 2019 to help promote racial equity, diversity and inclusion in the UK anti-trafficking sector.

A noted expert in safeguarding children, Debbie has specialist expertise in addressing socio-cultural factors affecting the protection and safeguarding of children of Black and African origins in the UK and Europe. She is a specialist in forced migration and human trafficking and has vast experience of designing and implementing diaspora anti-trafficking engagement programmes and service provision for victims and survivors. She works in different capacities as a researcher, an advocate, a court expert witness, a trainer, a newspaper columnist, a philanthropist and a public speaker.

Chengeto Mayowe

Chengeto Mayowe, keynote speaker at the AFRIG conference 2023

Chengeto is a renowned writer, spoken word artist, and cultural heritage ambassador. She is the founder of MambokadziBuilds and the publisher of Tales of Dzimbahwe and has won an award for her compelling writing style. In terms of her work as a publisher, she has said she wishes to bring ancient stories to life and is currently working on editing works from three new budding authors.

Chengeto’s work is rooted in Zimbabwean culture, tradition and myths, often exploring themes of identity, history, memory, and loss. Chengeto is actively involved in promoting reading among underprivileged communities and has donated over 100 books through her non-profit organisation.

In addition to her literary work, Chengeto Mayowe is a sought-after speaker who takes any opportunity she can to represent Zimbabwe when it comes to culture. Her passion for promoting Zimbabwean culture and heritage has earned her recognition from the President of Zimbabwe Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa to whom she gifted some of her literary works.


  • 9.30am: Registration
  • 10am: Opening
  • 10.30am: Debbie Ariyo OBE
  • 12pm: Lunch
  • 1pm: Chengeto Mayowe
  • 2pm: Coffee break
  • 2.15pm: Workshop
  • 3.15pm: Networking
  • 4pm: Close

If you'd like any more information about our conference, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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