Seizing the moment as a black civil servant

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Kay Dzivhani is a Senior Capability, Strategy and Planning Manager from DWP Digital and is passionate about living and working in the UK. For International Day for the Elimination of Race Discrimination, he opens up about his move from South Africa and why he feels there are so many opportunities available to him. 



As a Black British man of South African descent, I sometimes feel a desire to share my views on race and identity. In the world today as we know it, there has been an abundance of race-related discussions and protests across the globe incited by the George Floyd incident in America and some of the social inequalities and mental health challenges that exist in our society today. 

 

Reflections from South Africa

Firstly, I would like to reflect on my country of birth, South Africa, which many know has had its fair share of racial challenges and suppression of black people, particularly during the apartheid era. I was fortunate enough to not have lived through the years of apartheid but I’m fully aware of the trauma and pain my parents and many families went through. But even with all the challenges of apartheid, both my parents managed to live a happy and healthy life and that’s what I focus on, the positive story!

 

Living in Britain

So, the question is, how do I view Britain today as a Black man? The simple answer is, Britain is a tolerant nation with a multitude of people across different races, creed and religion. I truly believe each and every Black British resident can feel a sense of belonging and prosper in modern Britain. This is clear when you appreciate some of the success stories you see in the Civil Service, media, arts, public service and multiple global sports.

I acknowledge and accept that I, as an individual, have experienced minimal full-on racial discrimination and have been fortunate enough to have attended some of the top schools and colleges in both South Africa and Britain. I have been presented with endless opportunities to prosper with Britain, and I am proud to say I love this country.

 

Seizing opportunities

This is the story I wish to share with my fellow BAME Britons today which is centred on three key points to help us excel within Britain.

1. Patriotism: can one be Black British and proud?

Our nation has come a long way in its fight in tackling racism and creating equal opportunities for all. It’s fair to say we still have some way to go, but it’s also equally important we celebrate success stories of British people of colour and the contributions they have given to our nation. As a civil servant, I am grateful and fully committed to serving my country and citizens to the best of my ability, especially through the amazing work that we do at DWP Digital. 

2. Education: value of education

Education in all forms, whether it be achieved via apprenticeships or higher education, can be the bedrock of success for many Black Britons. What’s really interesting is that the vast majority of Black Britons tend to prefer higher education over apprenticeships which I feel are a great alternate route for many to explore. I’m extremely proud to see the hard work my colleagues in the Talent Development team at DWP Digital have placed in promoting apprenticeship opportunities for those looking to learn new skills. 

A modern Britain will require people of different skills and qualifications as we “build back better” once we overcome the current coronavirus pandemic. I believe the value of education is a vital component to our long-term success

3. Enterprise and new career opportunities

Britain is a great nation for any entrepreneur to create a business and prosper and our nation has thousands of successful businessmen and women of all race and creed across multiple industries and sectors. The tech industry in particular is thriving with the digital tech boom creating hundreds of jobs, with us being able to actively hire into technical roles, such as data and engineering

 

To conclude, being Black in Britain does have its challenges, but they can be overcome. We as a nation have come a long way and anything is possible. Britain is a nation of opportunity; I say seize the moment and go for it!

The wide range of work we do at DWP Digital requires a diverse mix of cultures, perspectives, experience, skills and ideas. If you’d like to work for an organisation that celebrates inclusion and diversity, have a look at DWP Digital careers site


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