Meet Vaughan Gething, The First Black Leader of Wales


March 27, 2024

Vaughan Gething is the first Black head of state in Wales, in the United Kingdom, and perhaps in all of European history.

NPR reports that Gething, a former lawyer and longtime member of the center-left Labour Party, will become the first minister of Wales after being elected by the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff and approved by King Charles III. Prior to becoming first minister, Gething served as the Welsh health minister for five years and has been the country’s economy minister since 2021.

“Today we turn a page in the book of our nation’s history — a history we write together,” Gething said in his victory speech. “Not just because I have the honor of becoming the first Black leader in any European country, but because a generational dial has jumped too.”


Gething, 50, was born in Zambia to a Zambian mother and a white Welsh father. He was raised in Dorset, England, before going to university in Wales. As first minister, he’s promised to make Wales a place where residents “can celebrate our differences and take pride in all of those things that draw us together.”

Wales has a population of about 3 million and is one of four parts of the UK, along with England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The UK, which has long grappled with its legacy of racism and colonization, now boasts three non-white leaders: the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is of Indian descent, while Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has Pakistani heritage. 

“I want us to use this moment as a starting point for a more confident march into the future,” Gething said. Gething is the fifth Welsh first minister since Wales became semi-autonomous, and the national legislature was established in 1999.


Cover photo: Meet Vaughan Gething, The First Black Leader of Wales / Photo credit: Associated Press

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