‘‘Save the Africa Centre’ Campaign
In March 2011, news leaked that the trustees of the Africa Centre decided in secret – without consulting members, beneficiaries or stakeholders – to sell a 125 year leasehold of its building and only asset, 38 King Street to property developer, Capital and Counties.
This building is not theirs to sell. The Africa Centre’s iconic building in the heart of London was accquired by the catholic church (Cardinal Hinsley Memorial Trust) in the 1960s for the people of Africa , friends of Africa and the African Diaspora. For over 40 years it has been a vibrant site for maintaining and projecting the culture of African, Africans and the Diaspora. In one fell swoop, the trustees of the Africa Centre want to wipe away its history. They have not consulted with members of the African Diaspora, users of the Africa Centre, or any other stakeholders who have an interest in its future.
This is in total contrast to assurances made to the charity’s members and the African community at large in 2006 by the then and current chair of trustees, Oliver Tunde Andrews, that he would not attempt to sell the building again.
The Save The Africa Centre Campaign emerged to halt the sale and demand the trustees hold an open and public consultation on the decision where the board of trustees:
Evidence whether it has done due diligence on the option to sell or alternative scenarios,
Evidence what it plans to do with the money that it receives from the proposed sale.
Agree to an immediate and public review of the governance and structure of the trust – overseen
by independent experts.
Why you should join?
Since the launch of the campaign, over 1, 200 people have signed a petition and open letter backing the call for a public meeting and secured the support of eminent Africans in the diaspora and the continent including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ngugi Wa’Thiongo, Kenneth Kaunda, Youssou N’Dour, Hadeel Ibrahim, Mo Ibrahim and Elsie McCabe. The Campaign has also secured the support of leading British politicians, including Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
By deciding in secret and without consultation to sell the The Africa Centre’s 38 King Street site to property developer, Capital and Counties – a decision which is probably the most important in this charity’s 50 year history, the Africa Centre’s trustees endangered the trust invested in them and disregarded their members and the wider African community – a demonstration of the serious governance issues that have plagued this charity for many years. Furthermore, there are serious issues of concern regarding the deal with Capital and Counties and whether it is in the best interests of this charity, its members and the wider African community and friends of Africa in the UK and globally.
Our goal is to revitalise the Africa Centre as the place for Africans and Africa in the diaspora. Join us to hold the trustees to account and ensure the sustainability of this charity for yours and future generations.
Save The Africa Centre Campaign