The Africa Centre is a monument in British history. It is a building which documents the development of Black people in Britain from the time when black people were sold to the Ladies and Gentleman’s of colonial Britain, to becoming a place which allows people of all races and generations to come together to explore Africa via Art, Theatre, Poetry, Literature and Music. I have always known of the Africa Centre, it was a place which in some way was a metaphor of my childhood. An English architectural building embodying the richness and variety of African Culture. As a girl raised by African Parents, speaking my mother’s tongue at home, but yet having to communicate to the outside world in English, embracing British culture as well as African culture. Yes, I can relate to the Africa Centre, every inch of it!
Having spent many of my teenage years this colossal building as well as having the opportunity to perform within this building ( Dilemma of a Ghost, Borders Crossing theatre), it saddens me to hear that the Africa Centre is in jeopardy and may be closing down.
There is no other venue in London which embodies the richness of African Culture. I mean there are many museums that may try their best to inform you of African culture; however this is from a perspective which in some way remains distant, sterile and all very English.
What makes the Africa Centre unique is that it was a building given to the African community in 1961 *by Mary Feeny, who bought a committee of Africans together to turn the idea of a centre that would be at the service of the newly independent Africa into a tangible reality.*
The fact that this building has remained functional for the last 40 years is an accomplishment. I have always believed that the Africa Centre would remain in Covent Garden for future generations to embrace and to add to its legacy.
The rise of modernism has now begun to discard tradition, it would be a great shame if the Africa Centre is eradicated and the place where the building once was becomes yet another chain store.
I urge you to sign the petition to keep the Africa Centre going. Some of you may not be thinking…’this has nothing to do with me…..I’m not African..etc’, but that is where your wrong! We are now living in a multicultural society but yet, ethnic minorities still do not have a voice. African history and culture is just as much a part of British history, and I am sure if Queen Victoria was alive……should would most probably agree!
Therefore I urge you to sign the petition and help the African Centre continue to thrive and become a distinguished multi-arts venue! This is a venue which can be utilised for so many things: dance performances, theatre, music performances, art exhibitions etc. It is up to you to help to sustain it I recommend you submit your ideas as to how the space can be used! And Keep the Africa Centre alive!
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/C_STAC
* text taken from the history of the Africa Centre: http://africadatabase.org/history.htm
For more details on the African Centre, please go to: http://africadatabase.org/index.htm