Celebrating a Historic Milestone: Councilor Abigail Marshall Katung Becomes the 130th Lord Mayor of Leeds.

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A Groundbreaking

Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung’s appointment as the 130th Lord Mayor of Leeds is a monumental event, marking a series of firsts in the city’s storied history. She is the first African and the second black individual to hold this prestigious position, following Eileen Taylor. Her rise to this significant role is a powerful testament to the city’s growing inclusivity and diversity.

Abigail Marshall Katung, pictured with her husband Sunday Marshall Katung. Credit: BBC


An Inspirational Journey

Born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, Abigail laid the foundation for her academic pursuits at Ahmadu Bello University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Education. Driven by her late father’s aspirations for her to further her education in the West and supported by her devoted mother, she moved to Leeds in 2000 to pursue a master’s degree in Development Studies at the University of Leeds .

Leeds quickly became her cherished second home, a place where she not only advanced her education but also established her business, built a family, and immersed herself in community service. Abigail is married to Nigerian Senator Sunday Marshall Katung, and they are proud parents to twin boys who are currently studying at university.

A Pillar of the Community

Abigail’s dedication to public service is reflected in her extensive political and community involvement. Elected to Leeds City Council in 2019, and re-elected in 2023, she became the first African councillor and the first black representative on the Cooperative Party National Executive Council. Her roles have included Scrutiny Board Chair, lead member for Faith and Belief, Chair of the Hate Crime Strategic Board, Chair of Further Education 14-19 years, and Food Champion.

Beyond her council duties, Abigail is an avid athlete and coach specialising in sprinting, a governor at Leeds City College, and a trustee of Age UK and Caring Together. She co-chairs the David Oluwale Memorial Association, which she founded in 2008 to honour the memory of David Oluwale, a Nigerian migrant who faced tragic injustice in Leeds.

A Champion for Young People: Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung’s Support for Afrikindness

Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung has been a steadfast advocate for young people and a cherished supporter of Afrikindness. Her commitment to empowering children and fostering positive identity development was exemplified when she graciously served as our guest speaker during the 1st Afrikindness Earth Day Writing & Poster Award Ceremony in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

As part of our EMPOWER project, three UK-based children (in Leeds) initiated a 10km Charity Fundraising Walk for Quality Education in Nigeria. This inspiring initiative raised over £5000, which was used to renovate a school building in Nigeria, directly benefiting over 1000 school children. Councillor Abigail’s support and guidance transformed this project into a beacon of hope and progress for many. She supported the children by kickstarting the 10km Charity Fundraising Walk with a warm-up session, fostering a sense of camaraderie and excitement among the young participants. Her hands-on approach and genuine care have left an indelible mark on the hearts of many children, inspiring them to believe in their potential and the power of collective effort.

Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung – warm-up exercise in preparation for their 10km Charity Walk

A Beacon of Hope and Representation

Councillor Marshall Katung’s appointment is particularly significant for young people and aligns closely with Afrikindness’ mission to foster positive identity development in children and young people. Her achievement serves as a shining example that with perseverance and dedication, barriers can be broken, and the highest echelons of leadership can be reached.

Her success is celebrated not only within the African community in Leeds but also across the African continent. It underscores the enormous contributions that international students and migrants make to UK society.

As she takes on this role, she has vowed to “continue the fight for equality and social justice,” ensuring that voices from all areas of the city are heard and every triumph is recognized.

Celebrating Culture and Identity in a Multicultural Society

Councillor Abigail has beautifully represented her culture and identity, showcasing the richness of her heritage and the kindness that thrives in a multicultural society. This sense of identity and belonging is critical in fostering unity and understanding within our communities. We thank her for embodying her culture in its full glory and for being a beacon of kindness and inclusivity.

Senator Sunday Marshall Katung, her husband, stands beside her as the Lord Mayor’s Consort, ready to support her throughout her term. Together, they embody a partnership committed to public service and community enrichment.

As Abigail Marshall Katung steps into her role, she not only makes history but also paves the way for future generations to dream bigger and aim higher.

Speaking of her appointment, The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung said: “It is with great appreciation and humility that I embrace the privilege of becoming this great city’s 130th Lord Mayor.  Since arriving in Leeds in 2000, the city quickly became my cherished second home. It was not just the city where I lived, studied, and worked, it’s where I chose to raise my children and become a public servant.”… Leeds Gov.UK

In the words of an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Abigail Marshall Katung’s journey and success epitomize the strength and unity that can be achieved when communities come together.

Her story is a powerful reminder of the difference one person can make and the enduring impact of dedication and service.

Afrikindness and the entire team wish her a successful and impactful tenure as Lord Mayor of Leeds, confident that her leadership will inspire and create lasting positive change for all communities across the city.

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