Black History Month | Tsitsi Zendera12/10/2021
October is Black History Month and this year’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. Tsitsi Zendera is a Business Analysis Spartan who wanted to share what it means to be a young Black person starting a career in tech in the UK today.
Black History Month 2021 celebrates The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your identity.
I moved to the UK as part of the Zimbabwean diaspora. I was eight years old when I moved here on a permanent basis and joined a school that was predominantly white. I remember being only the third black child in the school and the other two children were of Caribbean descent. I would always get asked if I lived in a tree or a hut - largely due to media ignorance and miseducation that disregarded the beauty of Africa.
Black history is important because it can eradicate the prejudices and misconceptions of Africa not being advanced or somehow still stuck in the dark ages.
Is this a celebration like Black History Month is so important for our society today, so people can be better educated?
I think Black History Month is critical – because it allows others to learn about black culture. When anyone mentions black history, the first thing to come to mind is often slavery and the slave trade. While this period formed a lot of what being black is today, I think it’s more important to learn now about how this time interrupted black greatness, black success - and further - great black art, tech and science and development.
It’s really interesting how you acknowledge the impact of the slave trade on black influence in so many modern industries and sectors. As a young Black woman entering the technology industry – traditionally dominated by white men - did you have any preconceptions about working in this area?
My greatest preconception was that I would not match up to the capabilities or ever be as good as my white, male counterparts – but I was wrong. I have found that with the right training, education and experience, I am very much capable of succeeding in my career and hopefully I will be part of history that sees the shift in having more diversity in the industry - especially in the most senior posts.
What would you say to a young black person seeking employment at this time – in technology or elsewhere?
When it comes to working in the private sector and being black, I think it’s very important to have thick skin and to not take things personally. While there is a misconception that black people have to work twice as hard to get into the industry and earn equal salaries, it’s still important to be adaptable and be willing to work harder than others to gain the recognition you deserve.
What can employers and allies do to support Black communities and other ethnic minorities when seeking work?
I think employers have a corporate and social responsibility to reduce prejudices. Equality is not always apparent and employers need to be accountable.
Do you now feel empowered to be a role woman for Black women in technology?
I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity by Sparta Global to shine in the world of tech. With access to continued training and support across several departments, I feel I’ve been granted unlimited opportunities. It feels empowering to be given the chance to make a difference in an already challenged sector and encourage others who may want to seek a similar role to me.