The Flame Tree Collective is a social initiative which was launched in 2020 by Ayo Haynes as the culmination of a life-long dream to foster a love for history, specifically Black History, in everyone she meets.
Our classes are suitable for all ages with history topics, interactive games, workshops and guest speakers; a place where children and parents can grow together in a blended learning environment.
We provide an extensive list of books and movies for you to explore stories and tales from across the Diaspora and host debates for adults to discuss a selected piece of work or topic. A growing directory of black-owned businesses brings greater exposure to entrepreneurs in our community.
A self-proclaimed history enthusiast, I can often be found at a gathering discussing the history of our people, linking moments of the past with modern-day references, analysing the impact it has on our lives today and why we should be excited about discovering more.
I am half-Nigerian/ half-English and spent my childhood in Northern Nigeria. Being surrounded by rich cultures and traditions which celebrated and respected their diversity shaped much of who I am today.
I have fond memories of making music with the pods of the flame tree, reading a book in the branches of a guava tree and plucking juicy fruit from a mango tree (the picture of the flame tree on the home page is from my high school in Jos, Nigeria).
As Matshona Dhiliwayo says 'a tree’s beauty lies in its branches, but its strength lies in its roots'. With this initiative I hope in some way to unite the diverse branches of the African Tree and provide a grounding for the next generation.
My strong belief is that knowing where we come from, gives us direction for where we need to go. Black History is not just for people of African descent because our stories and experiences are relevant to all.
As I watch my children grow up in a world that is still struggling with reconciling its past and present I try to foster in them an understanding of who they are, develop their self-esteem and give them life skills to navigate what can often be a tricky path of life. My dream is to also share this with you and your family.
Everyone has a spot under the tree.
The aims of the Flame Tree Collective are:
To build a community and sense of identity by connecting people regardless of age, walks of life or backgrounds.
To foster a love for Black History and identity through interactive classes and engaging discussions.
To encourage parents and children to learn together and begin conversations that continue beyond the classroom.
To develop links with people and organisations of similar interests, building a network and platform for discussions and shared experiences.
As our Flame Tree Family grows, we would like to:
Create a hub where anyone can come to access resources and interact with others of all ages or backgrounds who share a common interest in Black History.
Develop a library of literature to encourage further study & research
Provide a venue for workshops, classes for children and adults on a variety of interests
THE FLAME TREE
The flame tree (delonix regia) is an iconic feature on the African landscape. Under it you will often find grandparents telling stories, teenagers flirting, market traders or someone having a midday nap. The connections made here are social, informative and of economic value, and have inspired us to try to recreate in some way, this sense of community and inter-generational interaction.